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Stepdad Arrested For Years Of Alleged Abuse
by Paul Bass | Sep 11, 2012 1:13 pm
Posted to: Legal Writes
Police said they caught a man trying to flee town after subjecting his stepdaughter to attacks with a machete, a baseball bat, and his fists and cuffing her to a radiator.
The arrest took place Saturday. The horrifying tale the police later put together is told in detail in a police report on file in state Superior Court, where the 45-year-old stepfather appeared this week on assault charges.
The stepdaughter, who’s 9 years old, fled her Edgewood neighborhood home Saturday. She later told police she fled after her stepfather clobbered her with a bat.
An elderly couple was at Goffe Street and the Boulevard when they noticed the girl following them. She looked like she’d been abused. They called police.
Officer Kristen Fitzgerald responded. She earned the girl’s trust and started getting her story. Here’s some of what she later wrote in the report:
Fitzgerald had first gone to the girl’s home. Her mother had reported her missing. The stepfather appeared at the home while Fitzgerald was there.
“She needs to learn to take her fucking punishment,” he allegedly told her. “We are not the type of parent to touch our kids. I make her sit in a corner. That’s it!
“You all call the state, and DCF [state Department of Children and Families] gets involved. She doesn’t fuckin listen, jumping on beds. There is something wrong with her. She needs a psychiatrist!”
Fitzgerald reported telling the man his comments seemed “a bit over the top” for a response to a missing person’s report.
Fitzgerald went to Edgewood Park and got word about the report of the girl with the elderly couple. She found all three at the park’s basketball courts. The man said the girl had told him she’d run away from home and was thirsty. They noticed bruises on her face and a cut on her forehead.
“This was not a simple runaway,” concluded Fitzgerald, who also noticed swollen bruises and “scars in various stages of healing all over her forehead as well as a fresh cut on her forehead.”
She called paramedics as well as a supervisor on duty, Sgt. Donnie Harrison, who in turn got detectives involved to start looking for the stepfather.
Meanwhile, Fitzgerald found a “shady bench” on which to speak with the girl.
The girl “said her stepfather has been punching her for years. On today’s date he got mad at her because she wouldn’t eat her food and she tried to hide it under a dresser. So he hit her across the forehead with a baseball bat. He struck her across both legs with a belt and punched her.
“I noted that her left upper lip had been split open at some point and never healed properly. I asked and she said, ‘Yeah, he punched me in the lip a little while ago.’ She later admitted that he knocked out her tooth when he split her lip and she showed me a missing molar.”
Then the girl told Fitzgerald that the stepfather “handcuffs her to the radiator in the junk room off the kitchen both on her wrist and on her ankles. Her Left ankle had scarring on it. The entire circumference was scarred. She said he puts them on really tight.”
As paramedics took the girl to an ambulance, they discovered knife wounds on her stomach and a bite mark and scars across her back and upper arms.
The girl reported that the stepfather “hits her with a baseball bat, a large black flashlight and a black leather belt.” More scars were discovered at the hospital, on her thigh, her elbows, her legs, the middle of her head. The latter occurred after the stepfather “smashed her in the head with a baseball bat. It bled a lot,” the girl reported.
The stories continued in the hospital. She described missing a year of school at 8 years old when the stepfather “slammed her to the ground” and broke her hip. He allegedly told her to tell doctors “she fell riding her bike down the stairs.” She spoke of how he would regularly “rehearse a story” to tell people after he hurt her.
The stepfather “has been beating her since was 3 years old,” she said. “Her life has been horrible.”
Then a “fresh abrasion” was discovered under her nose. That came when she was “dragged across the carpet” Saturday she said. She said the stepfather beats her “because she is not his child.” He doesn’t beat the other four children—ages 2, 4, 5 and 15—she said.
More tales: The food she is given is left over from her baby brothers and it has baby drool on it. ... [She] does not want to eat it, so he handcuffs her to make her eat. [She] also said she is tired because [he] punishes her by making her stand in the corner of his bedroom all night and then makes her sit in a bathtub of cold water. ... She gets one meal a day and it is the leftovers.”
Detectives started searching for the stepfather. They “did a cell phone ‘ping’” on his number and found him with his wife and the four other children at a gas station on Forbes Avenue. He was filling up a van and “apparently getting ready to flee onto the highway,” Fitzgerald wrote.
Police charged the man with felony second-degree assault and risk of injury to a child. The other children went to Yale-New Haven Hospital for evaluation. DCF and Yale Child Study Center personnel were called in, too.
And the stories kept coming. The girl told this one: The stepfather “used to put her in a large black trunk, close the lid and place other trunks on top so she couldn’t get out. She said it was hard to breathe in there. [She] said the black belt he hits her with is leather and on the floor of the computer room. [She] said he cut her on the back with a long silver bladed knife and the knife wound on her stomach is from a smaller knife.”
As for mom? She “was aware of her being beaten but didn’t care about her anymore,” the girl said, according to Fitzgerald’s report. “Her mom had seen her handcuffed as well, but told her she should learn to behave.”
Assistant Police Chief Archie Generoso said Tuesday that police expect to bring more charges against the man, who is being held on a half-million-dollar bond. He said they recovered a machete they believe was used to cut the girl in the back. The man’s next scheduled court date is Sept. 28.
He also said that Officer Fitzgerald returned to the hospital on Sunday to visit the girl. She brought toys and clothing for her.
“No one prompted her to do this,” he said. “It was an example of what New Haven police officers do on a daily basis that goes unreported.”
“I’ve been on the the job 20 years,” Sgt. Harrison later said. “That’s the worst case of child abuse I’ve ever seen.”
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What a horrible story this man needs to be put away for the rest of his life. And again the New Haven PD did a great job. And hats off to Officer Fitzgerald for taking the time to visit this child and bring her toys and clothes. Do hope this child is placed in a loving home and never be beaten again she needs to heal and put this all behind her.
The “mother” needs to be charged as well! How come no one at her school looked into this before now? What a brave little girl! Prayers that she begins to heal and finds a more loving home…
Schools often fail children. Both of my middle and high school guidance counselors failed to report my abuse. But to believe that no neighbors heard anything or did anything, that is hard to understand. I applaud the girl for escaping and running away. Sometimes you literally have to run for your life. Paul Bass and staff, can you post how we can donate things for this girl in need, without giving out her location? I would like to help her, on a personal level.
This poor girl’s story just broke my heart. Thank you Officer Fitzgerald for going that extra mile.
I also forgot to mention that I would on a personal level like to help this little girl and her mother needs to be charged to let a terrible ordeal she let happen her husband beat her child shame on her. Any help I can give for her please post. Thank you Paul
The police department says it will have an answer for us on Wednesday about how and where to donate. Thanks for asking.
Compliments to Officer Fitzgerald and colleagues. Comfort to the courageous young girl.
The 24-hour toll-free hotline to report domestic violence is 888-774-2900. Confidential assistance is available, free of charge.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The regional Center for Domestic Violence Services will hold a conference on “The Lethality of Domestic Violence” on October 19 in New Haven:
I reading this story on the way into work this morning, and exited the bus in tears. My first thought was ‘How can the wife call herself a mother?’ Never, EVER, would a man do those things to my child and lay down to sleep with me and carrying on like nothing happened. This is one subject that would make me take the law into my own hands. What could a nine year old possibly do to warrant that kind of treatment? My Jesus, I pray for this child. Her physical wounds may soon heal, but her psycological wounds will take much longer. I hope there will be follow ups on this story and if anyone is interested in starting a fund to help clothe this child and or provide toys, please let me know.
I commend the elderly couple for their recognition of something being wrong and immediate, selfless support of this child. It also sounds like Officer Fitzgerald did a wonderful job in meeting her on her level and providing a safe ear to hear her story. It is clearly one of the most horrific cases of child abuse that’s been exposed in several years.
I do wonder, however, in an effort to bring light to the serious nature of the crime if we have done yet another disservice to this child. She is a member of this community & knows people and is known by people—what will it be like for her to live, not just with the trauma of her memories/experiences, but with the recognition that everyone around her knows too. While on one hand, it allows generous and loving people in the community to reach out on a personal level as indicated in previous comments, it does so by providing more details than were necessary, in my opinion.
It is an important story; I appreciate as always that NHI brings us solid news unavailable in most of the more prominent papers around here. We all must be aware of the risk of child abuse and be willing to step up if we are concerned about a child’s safety.
In that vein however, please let us be mindful that children deserve safety and security in their lives - from all of us (family, neighbors, police, AND the media).
[Editor Thank you for that point. We do believe in trying to protect the victim’s identity. For that reason we did not publish the street or the block where she lived. And for that and another reason, we didn’t print the name of the stepfather or publish his picture. Some people think our policy is useless because we can’t control what other news outlets do. That could definitely be. I figure not everybody looks at every news source; so people checking only the NHI will not get that information.]
Re: Editor comment::: Thanks to you for taking that extra step…it does make a difference!
I spoke to a gentleman yesterday through the police department who verified that donations will be taken, however, the drop off location was still in question. I am to contact him this morning to find out the details and will get the info out to as many interested parties.
I woke this morning thinking about this child and thanking God for probally her very first night of real rest and peace of mind. It really is time to come together as a community and stand up for this child and any other that is being mistreated. This child did nothing to warrant the treatment she suffered and no child should feel terrified of their parent. My prayers will continue for the healing of this child.