PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An Arlington man and his girlfriend are accused of beating a mentally handicapped man, when they were supposed to be his caretakers.

The 25-year-old man says he never felt safe in his own home.

He was the victim of years of abuse, including fractures to the skull, arms and wrists, as well as cuts and bruises.

And it all allegedly happened at the hands of his grandfather – Jimmie Peterson and his girlfriend Michelle Thompson.

One person, who did not want to be identified, had concerns and ultimately called police.

“This has been for years and I’ve been here six years now,” the person said. “How long have they been abusing this boy? But it had to be a long time.”

The couple admitted pushing the young man down the basement steps, taping him to a chair and beating him with baseball bats a couple of times a month.

They also forced him out of the house and withheld food as punishment.

“I also seen him eating out of the garbage, neighbors would feed him and give him water,” the person said.

“Never eating – sometimes I would see him and he would look … see him and look like he really needs help,” they added.

It was early December when the young man was pushed out of a moving car and decided not to return home. He was picked up by police, who took him to the hospital and he has since been moved to a group home.

“They didn’t hit him in areas of his body where he would sustain life threatening injuries and we attribute that to the fact that they were cashing his social security checks,” said Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala. “So if the kid dies, you know you don’t get any more checks.”

The young man has since been moved to a group home.

Peterson and Thompson face multiple charges, including reckless endangerment, aggravated assault and neglect of a dependent person.

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David Highfield