A New Freedom man told a judge his untreated mental-health issues must have caused him to black out prior to assaulting his two young children.
"I really can't remember what I did that day," Anthony Frank Docos Jr. said during a hearing Thursday. "All I remember is coming to and seeing my children lying on the floor."
Docos, 29, of the first block of Pleasant Avenue, pleaded no contest Thursday to two counts each of child endangerment and simple assault, all first-degree misdemeanors.
As part of a negotiated plea agreement, he was sentenced to 11-1/2 to 23 months in county prison and five years of probation. He also must submit to a mental-health evaluation and comply with any recommended treatment, the judge ordered.
Docos told Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder that around the time of the assaults, he was "falling deeper and deeper into a hole" and didn't know he was suffering from bipolar disorder.
The stress of a recent move, financial problems and a car accident apparently exacerbated the condition, he said, adding he wasn't eating and people around him noticed something was wrong in the days before the assaults.
"It was a mental breakdown that day," Docos said. "Since I got on medicine, I've actually been doing better."
Injuries: Southern Regional Police said Docos' 14-month-old son suffered a broken arm and bruising and swelling to his head and chest during the Aug. 30, 2011, incident, while Docos' nearly 3-year-old
daughter suffered a black, swollen eye.
According to police, Docos became angry because his son would not quiet down for his noon-time nap. Docos struck his son several times, police said.
The commotion of the alleged assault caused his daughter to become fussy, at which point Docos struck her in the face, according to police.
His wife is the mother of both children and approved of the plea agreement, according to deputy prosecutor Chuck Murphy. In fact, he said, she didn't want her husband to serve any prison time.
Both Murphy and public defender Erin Thompson, who represented Docos, said the children have recovered and remain with their parents.
'He feels awful': Docos is extremely remorseful, according to Thompson. While pleading no contest Thursday, he hung his head and appeared to be struggling with his emotions.
"He feels awful about what happened," Thompson said. "I believe it was a one-time occurrence."
Docos must report to prison on Sept. 14.
Also on Thursday, he pleaded no contest to indecent exposure and was sentenced to a concurrent two years of probation.
Police said he was standing on his second-floor porch at 9:15 a.m. May 29, 2011, when he exposed himself to a woman walking by and began to masturbate.
Docos told Judge Snyder he doesn't really remember that incident either.
Defendants who plead no contest aren't admitting guilt. Rather, they are saying they won't contest the charges against them. Otherwise, a no-contest plea has the same effect as a guilty plea.
-- Staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.