Rapid City man charged with felony aggravated child abuse in beating of infant

RAPID CITY, S.D. — The Rapid City man arrested Wednesday in connection with the beating of an infant has been charged with felony aggravated child abuse.

James Cunningham, 26, a senior airman assigned to Ellsworth AFB, made his initial court appearance Thursday morning via video feed from the Pennington County Jail.

The class 3 felony charge carries with it a possible penalty of a $30,000 fine, 15 years in a state penitentiary or both. A $10,000 bond was set by the judge, despite the defense’s request for a lower bond on the grounds that Cunningham had a limited criminal history and was likely not a flight risk.

The infant at the center of the case was found shortly after 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 3, when the RCPD was dispatched to a report of an unresponsive infant.

According to Community Relations Specialist for the RCPD, Brendyn Medina, medical units arrived and transported the infant to the hospital for treatment of life-threatening injuries. In the investigation, police found that the injuries were a result of abuse. The baby was later flown to Sioux Falls for treatment.

Around noon on Wednesday, March 4, law enforcement arrested Cunningham, and transported him to Pennington County Jail. The investigation is being conducted by the RCPD and the Pennington County Sheriffs Office.

Cunningham, James Sized

Photo Courtesy Pennington County Jail

Categories: Crime, Local News