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4/24/2013 1:59:00 PM
Damariscotta Woman Pleads Guilty To Assault Of Infant
Rebecca E. DeBella
Rebecca E. DeBella
By J.W. Oliver

A Damariscotta woman pleaded guilty April 18 to the November 2012 assault of her 9-month-old daughter and will undergo counseling and face possible jail time.

Rebecca E. DeBella, 25, pleaded guilty to felony assault and misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child as part of a plea bargain.

The state will delay sentence for a year. If DeBella abides by all the terms of a court order, the felony assault charge will be reduced to a misdemeanor and the prosecutor will recommend a 364-day jail sentence with all but 60 days suspended and one year of probation.

DeBella and her attorney will be able to argue for less than 60 days at a hearing next year. DeBella will remain free on bail until the hearing.

The terms of the agreement require DeBella, who retains custody of the girl, to continue substance abuse counseling, undergo psychological counseling and abide by Department of Health and Human Services recommendations regarding the incident.

Damariscotta Police Officer Aaron Beck went to the apartment late Nov. 2, 2012 after receiving a report from DeBella's ex-boyfriend that she "threw" the girl onto a couch and "kicked her in the face," according to court documents.

DeBella told Beck "she did not throw the child but 'tossed' her onto the couch," Beck said in a statement. "She said that she only pushed the child [with] her foot and it knocked [her] over."

The 11-month-old was transported by ambulance to the hospital.

Beck initially observed a bruise on the girl's face, according to his statement, but Assistant District Attorney Jonathan Liberman said it was later determined to be a vein.

Liberman said the state would be able to prove the "tossing incident" but might not be able to prove DeBella kicked the girl due to the absence of injury.

DHHS investigated the incident and supports the reunification of DeBella and her daughter, Liberman said.

"The goal is what's best for the child," Liberman said, and he, defense attorney Philip Cohen and DHHS all agree the outcome meets that goal.

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