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GF man accused of breaking infant daughter's arm offered plea deal

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A Grand Forks man accused of breaking the arm of his 3-month-old daughter has pleaded not guilty to a child abuse charge.

Michael Balek's trial is set to start Aug. 18, but attorney Steven Light said Thursday he and his 26-year-old client plan next week to review a plea deal offered by the prosecution.

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Balek told investigators he pulled his daughter's arm up and away from her body more forcibly than usual while changing her clothing in September, according to a Grand Forks Sheriff's Department report.

The report says Balek acknowledged he was distracted and angry at the time because of an argument with his wife.

The baby was found to have several other broken bones in various stages of healing, including a fractured rib, femur and shinbone, the report states.

Authorities said tests done on the infant showed there's no medical explanation for her injuries.

Light said he is presuming Balek is innocent and pointed out that the defense's experts are yet to weigh in on the incident.

"In my opinion, the charges are overblown considering the facts of the case," Light said.

Balek is out on bail. He was to have been arraigned March 25, but the hearing was delayed.

Child abuse is a Class B felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in jail and a $10,000 fine.

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