OLATHE, Kan. — Late last month criminal charges against Shawnee, Kansas daycare provider Katherine Konon were dropped. She was charged with assaulting her former client’s 6-month-old son.

A photo uncovered before the case went to trial changed everything.

The photo in this case showed the baby sleeping and without visible injury to his face. The family says the bruises developed after it was taken. However, Konon’s counsel alleges the boy’s mother, Sarah Braun, lied.

Despite the injuries the boy suffered at the time, his parents and court documents show he’s made a full recovery.

It’s a case of she said, she said in Johnson County Court between Konon and Braun. FOX4 spoke in detail with Braun back in 2019 when the baby’s injuries first came to light.

“I was absolutely devastated,” Braun said.

On June 20, 2019, the Braun family says their baby, Glen Braun, was abused by Konon at her then-licensed in-home daycare facility. Children’s Mercy doctors testified someone hit the boy in the face with a hand more than once. Three months after the alleged abuse, Konon was charged in the case.

The photo and dropped charges

It was a game-changing twist in the case when a photo surfaced of baby Glen after he was picked up from daycare. The photo was taken inside Braun’s car by the boy’s half-sister. Konon’s counsel said it shows the boy was not abused in her care.

“There are no markings on GB’s face. The lighting is obviously an issue, and the fact that GB’s face is turned to the side. However, in my independent judgement, I would expect to see some discoloration on the right side of his face,” Assistant District Attorney Tyler Childress said in court documents.

He went on to say Braun testified the boy’s clothes were saturated in vomit; however, in the photo that was also not visible. Childress told the court in his opinion the clothes did not have spit up or vomit on them.

Childress said the discovery of the photo was “a fluke,” and was found in a pretrial meeting when he asked a family member how the boy looked during a car ride and they offered the photo that he was never aware of.

The Johnson County district attorney dropped the aggravated battery and great bodily harm charge against Konon during a hearing regarding the photo. The case was set to go to trial ahead of the discovery.

Braun maintains when she picked the boy up from daycare, he was not well and had been vomiting. She testified multiple times she cleaned the boy up when she got into the car. The boy’s face in the image is clean and vomit is not seen on his clothing.

Court documents filed by Braun’s counsel on April 14, claim Braun cleaned vomit out of Glen’s ear, face and neck with a wet wipe before going to a park to meet with family. The photo was allegedly taken after she cleaned him off.

“This photograph in conjunction with the other evidence that the state has available makes it impossible for me to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt,” Childress said to the court.

Konon’s lawyer, Tom Bath, said this development was an example of rushing to judgement.

“This case provides a cautionary tale to all of us involved in these kinds of cases that sometimes, in our opinion, there’s a rush to judgement by law enforcement and Children’s Mercy that things don’t get taken care of like they are supposed to,” Bath said to the court.

Konon’s lawyers say it shows the boy was not abused in her home. Bath is claiming in court documents Braun lied under oath about facts in the case about her son’s injures.

“Sarah Braun gave false testimony under oath in this case when she testified Glen Braun’s clothes were saturated in vomit when she picked up Glen from Kathy’s home. The picture now proves that testimony constitutes perjury,” Konon’s counsel filed.

In Braun’s deposition she explains bruises started to appear once she arrived at a park and met family.

“We were sitting at the picnic table, he started turning different shades. I think it was developing. Again, I’m not for sure but we were sitting there. He was completely out of it and it was starting to turn splotchy and red, and we were trying to figure out what happened,” Braun testified.

Braun’s counsel asserts based on expert testimony that bruising takes time to develop.

Children’s Mercy findings

Baby Glen was evaluated at Children’s Mercy on June 21, 2019. Doctors said in a deposition the bruising on the right side of his face was consistent with a handprint.

“The bruising to Glen indicates that he sustained multiple blows to the head and then started getting sick and vomiting while under the care and control of the provider,” one doctor testified.

They claimed the bruises to the boy’s head were not on accident.

“An accidental injury does not typically result in a patterned injury, therefore, the bruising present on Glen Braun, a non-mobile child, that was bilateral, multiplane, and patterned, is indicative of child physical abuse.”

In October 2019, Braun spoke with FOX4 outside of one of Konon’s court appearances.

“Glen isn’t old enough to speak for himself and that’s what we’re going to do. We’re going to be his voice, and be his eyes, and be every step of the way watching her be accountable. Held accountable,” Braun said.

Court documents filed in November 2021 detail testimony from Children’s Mercy doctors about their findings of the boy’s alleged abuse. They claim vomiting was the first sign of brain damage. Braun said back in 2019 when she picked the boy up from daycare there was vomit on his face and in his ear.

“The daycare lady was holding Glen and my son had puke all over him and she said he has been throwing up,” Braun told FOX4 in June of 2019.

The doctors said in a deposition the vomiting Glen was experiencing before he left his daycare provider could be a sign of brain trauma. When the baby was examined the day after his alleged injures doctors found a brain bleed and said his excessive vomiting was due to pressure on his brain.

Konon has maintained her silence and innocence in the case. In October 2019, she pleaded not guilty to the aggravated battery charge against her.

Her lawyers said the baby may have fallen on a playhouse in the daycare or could have been accidentally hurt by another child in the now-closed daycare. Doctors said in their deposition that these scenarios were not possible based on the injuries the child sustained.

“The head CT showed that he had a brain bleed. From there, they told us there were signs of abuse, they got the police involved and child services,” father, Brett Braun said.

The Braun family maintains Glen’s bruises developed over time and began to surface at a park around an hour after pickup.

Konon lost her daycare license as a result of the former-charges against her. Back in 2019, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment ordered an emergency suspension of the home daycare’s license.

The civil case

FOX4 requested comments from both Braun and Konon’s lawyers on Friday but neither provided one.

A civil trial is looming in the future with no date set at this time. Konon’s attorney, Tom Bath, believes the civil case should be dismissed based on the discovery of the photo.

“Plantiffs have no control over the criminal charges against Kathy Konon. Whether an Assistant District Attorney chooses to pursue criminal charges is outside the control of Plaintiffs’ civil attorney. However, one thing is certain, that Plantiffs will continue to follow the evidence in this case which has clearly established that Glen Braun sustained adult physical abuse while under the care, control, and custody of Kathy Konon,” Braun’s civil attorney Shawn Foster submitted to to the court.

The Brauns are claiming negligence, violation of the Kansas Consumer Protection act, failure to provide medical care, and assault and battery in the civil case.

On Monday, District Attorney Steve Howe is set to make some kind of comment on the dropped charges.

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