PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — West Newton police have charged a couple in a child abuse case, saying the 3-year-old victim had more facial bruises than they could count.
According a police affidavit, officers responded to a report of suspected child abuse at 403 Hill Street on April 8, 2013.
Police say the 3-year-old victim had bruises on his face, neck and legs.
West Newton Police Chief Gary Indoff said it’s obvious the child was beaten and the anonymous neighbor who called to report the beatings probably saved the child’s life.
“This is a prime example why it’s not only necessary, but the right thing for members of the community to get involved in something,” he said.
A caseworker from the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau was called, and removed the boy, his sister and his brother from the home.
The boy was examined by Dr. Jennifer Wolford at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. According to her report, his injuries included: facial bruises that were “nearly too numerous to count;” bruising and abrasions on his neck; bruising on both ears, arms, chest and legs, and two broken bones in his foot.
The report also stated that the injuries caused severe pain and trauma, and they are likely to have a detrimental effect on brain development.
When asked how he had gotten his injuries, the boy replied that “he was hit and said that Ryan did it.”
“These injuries were caused by more than an accident,” said Chief Gary Indof, of West Newton Police. “It is extremely disheartening to see this happen to a small child.”
The victim’s mother, Christine Kowalski, told police that she worked nights, and that Ryan Sullivan was taking care of the kids when the alleged abuse happened.
She initially claimed that she did not see any “unusual marks” on her son when bathing him five days prior to his examination at Children’s Hospital. She later admitted to using heroin and not taking proper care of her children, saying there were days when she didn’t see the child.
Charges were filed Tuesday against Kowalski and Sullivan.
An arrest warrant for 28-year-old Ryan Sullivan is filed on felony aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child charges.
Kowalski is free on $25,000 unsecured bond with the stipulation she cannot have any unsupervised visits with her children.
The children are in the care of the county’s youth services.