EVERETT — An Everett man must serve 17 months in prison for two assaults on a toddler boy, who had been diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
The man, 34, pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree assault and third-degree assault of a child for the abuse of his girlfriend’s son. The Daily Herald is not naming the defendant to protect the identity of the child.
In late 2016, the mother noticed a golf ball-sized lump in the middle of the boy’s forehead, days after she started dating the Everett man, according to charging papers.
The boyfriend reportedly explained to her he’d heard a boom in another room, and found the child had fallen onto the floor. Lines from the wood laminate were imprinted on the child’s face. Over time the mother found scrapes and bruises on the child almost every time she spent the night at her boyfriend’s home, as well as bite mark’s on the boy’s cheek and arm, court papers say.
In late January 2017, she found the child had a swollen leg. The Everett man tried to convince the woman to wait for the swelling to go down, instead of going to the hospital, but eventually he agreed to take him. However, the charging papers say, he “insisted on eating dinner first.”
Doctors at Seattle Children’s found the toddler suffered leg fractures and bruises to his face and torso. One doctor told police the bruises were “clearly non-accidental,” and that the fracture could have come from a fall or a stomp.
A Marysville police detective sat down with the man in early February 2017.
Over the course of an interview, the man’s story shifted. At first, he reportedly said he didn’t think the boy had fallen, on the night he broke his leg. Then he said the mother had been on the bed, and when she left, the boy tried to follow her but fell off the bed. Then the Everett man said he had, in fact, stepped on the child’s foot. He admitted to biting the child’s cheek, making him cry.
“The defendant said he was just rough sometimes, he did not mean to hurt” the boy, according to the charges.
At age 20, the man had been convicted of sex with a minor and lewd or lascivious acts with a child under age 15 in Ventura County, California.
The young boy and his mother did not attend the sentencing Monday. No family members spoke on the boy’s behalf.
The man entered the courtroom holding a baby carrier.
Around the time of his arrest, the man had been stressed out while working two jobs to support his family, defense attorney Jon Scott said. Since then he has maintained employment as a landscaper and a short-order cook.
“He wants to be a good father,” Scott said.
Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Cindy Larsen approved a plea agreement, sentencing the defendant to the most time possible within state guidelines.
The man told the court that he was sorry for what he’d done, and that he’d “suffered through a lot” since 2017.
“I just want to get back to my kids,” he said. “And I apologize for the damage.”
The man has three young children of his own. His fourth child, a son, was born just weeks ago.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @snocaleb.