Kenneth R. Rush, 51, Joplin, pleaded not guilty January 10 during a video arraignment before Judge Joseph Hensley in Jasper County Circuit Court. His next court hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. January 31.
The allegations against Rush are detailed in the probable cause statement from the Joplin Police Department:
On December 19, 2017, Kenneth R. Rush's two-month-old child was taken (to) the hospital via EMS due to having breathing problems and what was believed to be a seizure.
Once at the hospital, (the child) was seen to have bleeding on the brain. Hospital staff decided to have (her) flown to Children's Mercy in Kansas City for further treatment.
Once at Children's Mercy, (she) was found to have too numerous to count intraretinal and preretinal hemorrhages.
Once those results were found, the Children's Mercy SCAN team was contacted to consult and further treat (the child). Medical staff with Children's Mercy advised the injury to (her) eyes was a result of non-accidental abusive head trauma.
Throughout the duration of the investigation, Mr. Rush acknowledged he was the cause of the injuries to (the child), however, Mr. Rush's explanation of what had happened to (her) while (she) was in his car changed several times from nothing happened to he tripped and fell while holding (her) to he was tossing (her) in the air and catching (her) and finally to he was bouncing (her) while (she) was laying on the couch.
The alleged child abuse occurred just eight days after KZRG named Rush its Law Enforcement Officer of the Week.
Rush, a 14-year law enforcement veteran came to the Newton County Sheriff's Department in February from Bates County. He began his career with the Butler Police Department in 2003.