SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, June 13, 2019 (Gephardt Daily) — A Salt Lake County man injured his girlfriend’s child while disciplining him, officials said.
A probable cause statement from the 3rd District Court of Salt Lake County said Torrence Ezell Thomas Jr., 21, is facing a charge of child abuse — inflict serious physical injury recklessly, a third-degree felony.
The arresting officer wrote in the probable cause statement that he responded to St. Mark’s Hospital ER in Millcreek Tuesday at 2 p.m. on a report of child abuse.
There, the officer met with Thomas, his girlfriend and her 4-year-old son, the statement said.
“Medical staff stated that the child presented to the ER with a large full thickness laceration four inches long to the back of his head with heavy bleeding,” the statement said. “He also had large raised bruises to his back and lacerations.”
The child was transported to Primary Children’s Hospital, as a CT scan showed possible abdominal bleeding.
The child’s mother said Thomas had disciplined the child for not wanting to get ready for swimming at their apartment complex. The mother left the apartment and was contacted a few minutes later when Thomas called her stating that she needed to get back to their apartment “because of what happened.”
Thomas was taken into custody and transported to the Unified Police Department interview room, the probable cause statement said.
After being read his Miranda rights, Thomas said he would speak to officers. He told officers he called the child’s mother and “asked where the belt is.” She told him it was in the bathroom, and Thomas told her the child “needed to be disciplined for how he was acting.”
Thomas said that while he was in the child’s bedroom, he grabbed the child by his arm and spanked him on the buttocks.
“However, when he picked the child, he kept falling down as Torrence was hitting him with the belt,” the probable cause statement said. “That’s when Torrence picked the child up so high, the child hit his head on the side of the closet wall door frame causing a large laceration to the back of his head.”
Thomas said “he knew he messed up” and called the child’s mother to tell her what happened.
Thomas was transported to Salt Lake County Jail with his bail set at $5,000.