Despite questions as to whether the scalding of an 11-month-old baby was intentional, a judge has sentenced Patrick Mark Ursenbach Jr. to up to five years in prison for the incident.
The man's behavior was reckless, criminal and deserving of tough punishment, according to a 3rd District Judge David Young, who handed down the sentence Monday.Prosecutor Dane Nolan said the victim, Nishon Pacheco, will have to live with terrible scars and undergo skin-graft operations the rest of his life. "Five years out of Mr. Ursenbach's life seems pretty minimal in comparison," Nolan said.
The boy was burned over 46 percent of his body.
Barbara Ward, nurse manager of the University of Utah's Intermountain Burn Center, said scaldings accounted for 37 percent of burn cases involving victims under the age of 18 during the past three years.
However, intentional scaldings are rare. Of 92 child scalding victims, "only a couple" were purposely inflicted, she said.
Ursenbach, 27, who was tending the boy and the baby's 3-year-old sister for his girlfriend, said the water temperature was fine when he put Nishon in the bathtub on March 20, 1997. Ursenbach told police he left momentarily to dispose of the child's dirty diaper and returned to find the baby burned.