AUGUSTA — A father whose 2-year-old son was rescued from drowning in the Kennebec River in September 2016 successfully has completed a deferred disposition, and a charge of endangering the welfare of a child dismissed.

Christopher J. Norwood, 33, of Augusta, had to complete a parenting course, among requirements set by the court, in order to be free of the charge.

His son was rescued by Sean Scanlon, of Dresden, who was alerted to the child’s predicament by screams from people on the west side of the river. The boy, wearing a hoodie and a diaper, was floating face down with his rear end in the air.

District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said Wednesday she was not allowed to comment on any Department of Health and Human Services case.

“I am pleased that (Norwood) complied with the conditions in the deferred disposition and that he took those conditions seriously: the parenting class; completing the Prime for Life class, which teaches about the effects of marijuana on himself and his family, including the impact of second-hand smoke; and getting his medical marijuana card so that he would have doctor’s oversight on the amount of marijuana,” she said.

Maloney said the investigation revealed that Norwood was in his apartment and thought the child was napping and had not realized he had left.


The day of the incident, Scanlon jumped into the river at the East Side Boat Landing and swam a few seconds until reaching the boy.

“He was blue in the face and his whole body was turning blue, and I knew he wasn’t breathing,” Scanlon said a day after the rescue. “I didn’t hesitate and I didn’t think. I was bringing that kid in one way or the other.”

Scanlon turned the boy face-up and carried him to shore while patting his back attempting to get the boy to cough up any water he might have swallowed. He carried the boy up to where emergency responders could reach him.

The charge against Norwood was filed Sept. 27, 2016, after Augusta police investigated the near-drowning.

Then-Deputy Chief Jared Mills said Norwood was “at a location far enough away that he could not provide the proper care to ensure the safety of a 2-year-old child.” Mills also said the boy was doing well after being rescued, and that the state Department of Health and Human Services was involved in the investigation and working to ensure the safety of the boy.

Norwood had pleaded guilty June 6, 2017, to the child endangerment charge under the Alford doctrine, indicating — as the judge explained — that while he does not agree with the state’s version of events, a jury or fact-finder hearing the evidence could find him guilty of the charge.


However, under an agreement with the state that the judge approved, the case was continued for a year to allow time for Norwood to complete various requirements. Success meant he could withdraw that plea and the case would be dismissed. If he was unsuccessful, he risked being sentenced up to 364 days in prison.

Attempts to reach Norwood on Wednesday through a cellphone number and through Facebook were unsuccessful. Shortly after the rescue, he released a statement through his attorney, thanking those who helped his son and asking people to reserve judgment about the incident.

In court a year ago, Norwood’s attorney, Scott Hess, told Justice William Stokes that the event was “a mistake my client feels terrible about.” Hess said Norwood believes he did not “recklessly endanger” the health, safety or welfare of a child, as the statute is phrased. Hess did not respond to calls for comment Wednesday.

The state Department of Health and Human Services was involved in the case and the child was released from the hospital to a safe location not with his parents.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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Twitter: @betadams

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