A Lakewood man is charged with several counts of assault for allegedly burning a 5-year-old girl because she had prayed for him to die.
Injae Cho, 26, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to two counts of second-degree child assault and two counts of fourth-degree assault. He was ordered jailed in lieu of $150,000 bail.
Police arrested him Tuesday, days after the girl’s mother brought her to a hospital and doctors found first- and second-degree burns on the child’s thighs, buttocks, feet, chest and legs.
Bruises were noted on her face, neck, arms, chest and stomach, according to charging papers.
The mother left the girl with Cho, a relative, for several days while she worked. At some point, Cho’s mother called the woman to tell her “she should not let Cho watch her daughter,” records show. Cho’s mother did not elaborate and the woman had trouble getting Cho to call her back so she could pick up her child.
When the woman picked up her daughter, Cho allegedly claimed the marks on the girl were spider bites.
The girl told officials she played a game with Cho and others in which they burned her with a lighter or E-cigarette and “she was told to be strong.”
She “also said that she and the defendant had many secrets but she could not tell the secrets because God was watching and he did not want her to tell her secrets or else he would be mad,” according to documents.
Cho allegedly admitted to spanking, grabbing and burning the girl because he overheard her praying for him to die. He told detectives he continued burning the girl because she smirked and gave him a “creepy look.”