Father pleads guilty, sentenced for breaking baby's leg

Aimee Ambrose
York Dispatch

A father will serve nearly two years in jail after admitting he broke his infant son’s leg last year in Dover Township.

Cody Stiffler, 25, of Elizabethtown, pleaded guilty during a Common Pleas court hearing Wednesday to a second-degree felony count of aggravated assault involving a victim under 6 years old.

Cody Michael Stiffler

Terms of the plea agreement called for Stiffler to serve nine to 23 months in York County Prison, followed by a year of probation. He also was ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation, attend a parenting class and have no contact with his son. A second charge of child endangerment was dismissed as part of the agreement.

Once Judge Gregory Snyder accepted the plea, he ordered Stiffler to begin serving the sentence. Stiffler, who’d been free on bail, was then taken into custody and led away while the mother of his child wept in court.

During the hearing, Stiffler admitted he broke his son’s leg in Dover Township in April  2020 — the child was 7 months old at the time. Language in the charging information was updated ahead of the plea to narrow the case down to the fractured femur, according to the prosecution.

When Stiffler was initially charged in 2020, Northern York County Regional Police indicated that on top of the broken leg, there was evidence the baby had endured eight other broken bones over the months prior to the April incident.

At the time, Stiffler, the child’s mother and the child had lived in the basement of Stiffler’s de facto godparents’ home. That couple had shared concerns about Stiffler’s “rough handling” of the child, to the point they routinely checked the video from the baby monitor in the child’s room, police had alleged.

The prosecution said the child’s mother did not oppose the plea agreement in general, though she had been opposed to the no-contact term. She was persuaded to accept it as a concern for the best interest and safety of the child.

— Aimee Ambrose can be reached via email at aambrose@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter: @aimee_TYD.