A Maryland father and stepmother are facing first-degree child abuse charges after their son spoke about the mistreatment he says he has experienced for several months.
Craig Anthoney Williams and Nicole Williams of Clarksburg, Maryland, were charged with child abuse after their 7-year-old son told hospital officials and police officers the couple regularly restrained him with plastic wrap and scalded his hands with hot water, reports WJLA.
On Dec. 2, the child was taken to Shady Grove Hospital with blisters, bruises, numerous abrasions and a possible seizure. When a nurse asked him about the blisters on his hands, the child said they were a result from being forced into hot water.
According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals are required to report potential child abuse by law. Most U.S. states have designated certain professionals to report suspected child mistreatment to law enforcement, child protective services or other appropriate agencies.
The boy told the investigating officer that he was frequently bound and not permitted to eat. Although he said his father is responsible for the bulk of the abuse, the stepmother assists from time to time.
Five other children, ages 1 to 17, live with the couple. Some of the children reported to officials that both parents have hit them with a belt.
Nicole’s mother, who wished to remain anonymous on camera, believes her daughter is innocent.
"I want people to know that my daughter is not a monster, she is not a child abuser," Nicole's mother told WJLA. "She is a good mother, a loving mother, and her children will testify to that.”
The couple admitted to restraining the child almost daily for seven months, according to police reports. The father also reported seeing fecal matter and urine on the child during morning check-ins, as he had been restraining his son at bedtime. WJLA reported the boy said he was repeatedly zip-tied to his bed.
Originally, Nicole’s bail was set at $400,000 and Craig’s was $300,000, but the judge lowered them to $10,000 each.
“Police can say anything they want,” Nicole’s mother added. “I’m telling you what I know. My child is not a child abuser.”