Dad rubs hot sauce, cayenne pepper in newborn's eyes, mouth and nose

Michael Foltz
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MOORHEAD, Minn. (WDAY Before 42-year-old Shawn Michael Foltz's was sentenced for a felony assault conviction for injuring his 2-month-old daughter, his now-divorced wife spoke to the judge on the impact Foltz's actions had on her and her two children.

"I felt like I did not know the man I was married to," said Belinda Bailer, referring to Foltz.

In June, Foltz pleaded guilty to third-degree felony assault of a victim under the age of 4.

Court records show the abuse included rubbing hot sauce and cayenne pepper in his daughter's mouth, nose and eyes, snapping a towel at her eyes and head, and blocking her airway until she turned blue.

On Wednesday, Aug. 8, in Clay County District Court, Foltz was given a sentence of 30 months.

He's required to spend at least 20 months in prison and is eligible to spend the remaining 10 months under supervised release.

Bailer, who was married to Foltz for five years, said during the sentencing hearing how she now has to pay the bills with half the income the family used to have and that they lost their home.

"But I'm here to talk about my little girl," Bailer said.

She said she's grateful her daughter is now healthy and active but she doesn't know how she'll be able to explain what Foltz did or what she will say when her daughter asks why her father is not around their family.

Bailer said her 4-year-old son is also victim because he witnessed some of Foltz's actions and now sees a therapist because he is emotionally scarred.

She said Foltz's sentence, which was reached after a plea agreement between the prosecution and defense, was too short.

"There's no sentence that can undo the damage inflicted on your daughter," Judge Amber Gustafson said to Bailer.

When Gustafson asked Foltz if he had anything to say before he was sentenced, Foltz said, "No ma'am."

According to court records, the abuse occurred from about April 10, 2017, until May 30, 2017, when Bailer brought her daughter to Essentia Health.

In an interview with a police detective, Foltz said the injuries were caused by snapping a towel in the baby's face. He said he was frustrated with her crying and used a wooden spoon to hit her on the bottom, court records show.

Foltz told police he would think of ways to harm the baby while he was at work, court records show.

Other charges Foltz faced were dismissed.

In addition to the prison time, Foltz is required to pay more than $6000 in restitution.