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Ozone Park man accused of abusing infant daughter

A Queens father allegedly bit, tossed and head-butted his infant daughter, leaving her with 17 fractured ribs and other injuries, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Saturday.

Juan Gomez, 23, of Ozone Park, was awaiting arraignment last night in Queens Criminal Court on charges of first- and second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted, he faces a maximum prison sentence of 15 years.

Hospital workers discovered the abuse during the last week of February when the child's mother brought her to a hospital with breathing difficulties, a Brown spokeswoman said.

The baby, now 13 weeks, had eye and chest bruises, rib, foot, ankle and leg fractures, a lacerated liver and lung damage, the district attorney's office said. She is expected to recover and is being cared for by a family member - not her mother, the spokeswoman said.

The mother, who was not identified, was not charged.

In a news release, Brown said some of the injuries occurred in late January after Gomez was unable to quiet her while his wife was at work. Gomez became so frustrated by the infant's crying that he bit her on her leg, then hid the bite from his wife by bathing the infant for a week, Brown said.

But that wasn't the end, the district attorney said. Gomez told police and prosecutors that he head-butted her, Brown said.

He also tossed her a foot into the air, then caught her, the district attorney said. "That's how the ribs were fractured," the DA's spokeswoman said.

Gomez's apartment building was quiet last night. The apartments sits above Oxford Bake Shop on a street with rows of multiple-family homes and brownstones.

Amanda Lopez, 28, an assistant construction manager, said she has lived in a brownstone several doors down from Gomez's apartment building for six years and said she often saw the child's grandfather, whose name she didn't know.

She described the grandfather as a nice man who often spoke about his son, as well as his daughter and her new baby. She said he lived in the apartment building with his two children, including the baby's mother.

Lopez described the baby's wounds as "disgusting."

"I'm completely shocked," Lopez said as she stood in front of Gomez's apartment. "This is completely unacceptable. I can't see something like this happening."

With Yamiche Alcindor

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