A Tacoma man beat his girlfriend’s 3-year-old son bloody because the toddler accidentally stepped on the man while trying to wake him up, Pierce County prosecutors said.
The 25-year-old man was arraigned Thursday in Pierce County Superior Court on one count of second-degree child assault. Bail was set at $75,000.
According to charging documents:
The boy’s 27-year-old mother changed his diaper about 8 p.m. Monday and didn’t notice any injuries to him. They then went to her boyfriend’s apartment, where they all fell asleep in the living room while watching a movie.
The woman left Tuesday morning for a class, leaving the boy with her boyfriend. About 1 p.m., the boyfriend called her and said he had changed the boy’s diaper, noticed he had been hurt and took him to St. Clare Hospital in Lakewood.
The mother met them at the hospital, and the boy said the dog had hurt him. The boy was released from the hospital.
On Wednesday, the mother took the boy to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma because he was still bleeding from where he had suffered bruises. A doctor determined the boy’s injuries were intentional and contacted police.
Officers interviewed the boy, who said his mother had hurt him, but they noted his young age made talking with him challenging.
They then interviewed the boyfriend. He said he had changed the boy’s diaper Wednesday morning and saw no injuries. He then said he took a 10-minute nap, woke up and changed the boy’s diaper again, noticing the injuries.
He blamed his dog for hurting the boy, then said the boy might have fallen from the couch.
Officers kept asking questions of the man. He slumped, struggled to breathe and started to cry.
“I’ll probably walk out in handcuffs today, I’ll tell you that,” the man said.
He then told officers he was napping Tuesday morning and the 3-year-old, trying to wake him up, stepped on the man’s face. Waking up in a rage, the man backhanded the boy twice on his diaper.
“I hit him hard,” the man told police multiple times.
The man knew he had hurt the boy. He looked inside the diaper, saw blood and bruises, which “freaked the hell out of me,” he said.
Prosecutors noted the man’s charges might be upgraded to first-degree child assault upon receipt of medical records.