A Minnesota man was charged with sexually assaulting a 21-month-old girl after she was hospitalized because of her injuries.
Sterling Robert Stewart, 29, of Lino Lakes, was charged with first-degree sexual conduct, first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child.
The child's mother went to Stewart's home on Aug. 20 with her children, reports KMSP. While there, she got a headache and took a nap for two hours. She left Stewart to look after the toddler.
When the mother woke up from her nap, she says she found her daughter wrapped up in a blanket, sleeping. Stewart allegedly told her he had washed her clothing after a blowout diaper. The mother then noticed she had some bruising on her face, which Stewart said happened when the toddler fell off the couch and hit a rocking horse.
After returning home, the mother said she found more injuries on her daughter's body.
The next day, the child was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors found bruising on her face, neck and body, including her genitals. She had extensive bruising on her abdomen and doctors found signs of internal injury to her liver.
Medical professionals determined the injuries were the result of a "severe assault" and that the bruising on the toddler's abdomen were indicative of "severe trauma," reports the StarTribune.
Stewart is being held in Anoka County Jail in lieu of $300,000 bail. He is expected to appear in court on Sept. 20.