Attorney seeks hospital records in case of alleged child abuse at Villages home

Benjamin Weingard

An attorney is seeking hospital records in the case of a man charged with committing child abuse at a home in The Villages.

The Department of Children and Families contacted the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office in June after a four-month-old female suffering a brain bleed was taken to The Villages Regional Hospital. The baby was having seizures and was transferred to Nemours Children’s Medical Center in Orlando.

The mother and 35-year-old Benjamin Weingard were interviewed at the hospital in Orlando and summoned the following day to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office at Pinellas Plaza in The Villages.

Weingard, whose address is 1107 Saldivar Rd. in the Village of Santo Domingo, told law enforcement that the baby had been “fussy” and was repeatedly waking him up. Weingard said there “was a bad 20 minutes where the infant would not stop crying.” He said he “did not understand” why the baby was crying as she had been “fed, changed and burped,” according to an arrest report.

He admitted he had “squeezed” the baby and realized it was “excessive.”

He is facing two counts of aggravated child abuse. He remains free on $10,000 bond.

Weingard’s attorney, Jody Fisher, is seeking medical records from The Villages Regional Hospital and Nemours Children’s Medical Center as she prepares to mount a defense.

Shortly after Weingard’s arrest, Fisher issued the following statement:

“Hannah is still recovering from a brain bleed she suffered on June 7, 2019. The prognosis for a full recovery appears good. Unfortunately, family services got involved and initiated inquires requiring Mr. Weingard to retain an attorney. The entire family is supportive and very confident that things will work out. The legal proceedings prevent the family from discussing anything at this time. We ask that everyone be respectful of this.”

A pretrial hearing in the case is set for Aug. 20 in Sumter County Court.