WEST CHESTER — A tearful father apologized for beating his 3-month-old daughter after his attorney told the judge accepting his guilty plea to aggravated assault charges that he had faced similar childhood trauma.
“I’m deeply sorry for everything,” Nicholas Marigliano said before Common Pleas Judge Allison Bell Royer sentenced him to four to 10 years in a state prison for the assault, which occurred at his girlfriend’s West Goshen home in June 2018. “I am sorry that whatever happened in the abusive relationship that I had with my mother came to this.”
Marigliano’s attorney, Robert Levant of Philadelphia, told the judge that a psychological profile of his client had uncovered what he characterized as years of “torture” at the hands of his “very, very mentally ill” mother when he was a child. "He is very dedicated now to trying to take care of his issues.”
"I was too much of a coward to come out with the things I was feeling,” before the assault, Marigliano said as he choked back tears. “But the things I was hiding were much bigger than myself.”
The guilty plea and proposed sentence were presented to Royer for her approval by Levant and Assistant District Attorney Emily Provencher, a prosecutor with the DA’s Child Abuse Unit.
Provencher said that the sentence had been offered to Marigliano because he had cooperated fully with police investigators in the case and had accepted responsibility for his crime from the outset. His plea would spare the girl’s family from the trauma of going through a trial, she noted.
Provencher also told the judge that she had had extensive contact with the mother of the girl and her family, and that they were in agreement with the resolution of the case — which will also prohibit Marigliano from having any contact with his daughter until the end of his 10-year sentence.
The prosecutor told the judge that the girl, now more than a year old, had made a full recovery from the injuries that Marigliano had inflicted on her.
“She is a fighter, and it is an absolute miracle that she pulled through,” Provencher said.
Marigliano, 28, of Havertown, was arrested by West Goshen police after the assault on the child took place June 15, 2018.
At 5:13 p.m. that day, police were dispatched to a medical emergency in the 1200 block of Gail Road in a residential neighborhood off Phoenixville Pike. The initial report indicated that the victim was a 3-month-old baby and was unconscious.
Medical personnel responded to the home immediately, and transported the baby to Chester County Hospital. While being treated at the hospital, the baby was diagnosed with serious injuries and was subsequently transferred to Nemours-Alfred duPont Hospital for Children in Delaware.
According to a criminal complaint filed by West Goshen Detective Jose Torres and Chester County Detective Gerald Davis Jr., the child was gasping for breath and had suffered a severe brain injury.
According to court documents, the mother said that when she first questioned Marigliano about what had happened to the baby, he said he had been bouncing her on his knee when she started to crying, so he lay her down on a sofa. When he checked her later, he said, she was not breathing.
At the hospital, he changed his story to say the girl had fallen on the floor and hit her head while they were playing.
Finally, when police questioned Marigliano, who was the only person taking care of the child at the time, he admitted to shaking the girl, dropping her on the floor, tossing her onto a sofa, and striking the baby after he became upset with her after picking her up from day care earlier in the day.
He said he called 911 when the child became unresponsive, and told investigators that he had shaken the baby in the past.
“He has a very short fuse and to know that he could hurt our 3-month-old daughter the way he did I am afraid he would escalate to doing that to me as well,” the woman wrote in a request for a protective order against Marigliano. “I love my daughter and want her protected.”
Royer, who called the facts of the case “gruesome,” accepted the plea nevertheless and urged Marigliano to participate in mental health treatment while in prison.
“You can't change the past,” the judge said. “But you are at least heading in the right direction by getting some help. That is what you can to do to be the best father you can be.”
To contact staff writer Michael P. Rellahan call 610-696-1544.