Gov. Paul LePage backs the Department of Health and Human Services’ refusal to release information about how it handled a report of suspected child abuse in the home of Ethan Henderson, a 10-week-old baby who died, allegedly at his father’s hands.

LePage’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, said the governor’s counsel and the state Attorney General’s Office agree that the information could affect the criminal investigation of the father, Gordon Collins-Faunce, who is charged with depraved indifference murder, elevated aggravated assault, aggravated assault and assault.

Collins-Faunce told police that he lifted the boy by the head and threw him forcefully into a chair Saturday at their home in Arundel. Ethan suffered brain injuries and died Tuesday.

A DHHS official told police that the department had received a report from a day care provider that Ethan and his twin brother, Lucas, were sick and weren’t being treated, and that the twins’ 3-year-old half-sister, Neveah, had arrived at the center “covered in bruises.”

The DHHS won’t confirm that it received the report, say when it was received or release any details on the department’s response.

Bennett said LePage agrees that the information should remain confidential for now, and that the governor won’t comment beyond that about the case.

LePage told a television station Wednesday that he supports the death penalty “for those that kill babies” and feels the DHHS has “gone from one extreme to another” in deciding whether to remove children from homes in which abuse is suspected.

The department has been criticized in the past for being too quick to remove children, LePage said, but now, “sometimes we’re putting them back too quickly and sometimes we’re not taking them out fast enough.”

LePage, who was a victim of abuse as a child, supports a “system that protects our children,” Bennett said.

John Martins, spokesman for the DHHS, said the department reviews the way it handles all cases in which a child is harmed, but he refused to confirm that it is reviewing the case in Arundel. He said the results of those reviews are not made public.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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