Flint Township man accused of burning, abusing girlfriend’s 2-year-old
If convicted of 1st degree child abuse and torture, the 23-year-old is facing up to life in prison.
FLINT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WJRT) - A 23-year-old Flint Township man is facing up to life in prison, accused of abusing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter.
Genesee County Prosecutor David Leyton said the mother came home from work last week to find her daughter covered in burns. He said the woman’s boyfriend, Leonard Dortch, told her he left the hair dryer on while cooking in another room.
The couple tried to treat the burns themselves, but Leyton said they took the little girl to Hurley Medical Center when they weren’t healing.
“The emergency room physician and the other expert physicians at Hurley don’t believe that’s what happened,” he said. “They believe that some hot liquid was put on the child, causing these burns.”
Leyton said physicians found the 2-year-old also had a number of other injuries a physical exam, including a fractured wrist, bleeding on her brain and bruises on several internal organs. He believes Dortch also is responsible for that abuse.
The 23-year-old is charged with first-degree child abuse and torture, which carries up to life in prison if he is convicted.
Leyton believes the little girl will survive her extensive injuries.
This is the second case of physical child abuse ABC12 has shared in the last week.
Voices For Children Advocacy Center said over the last three weeks, they’ve been handling an increasing number of physical child abuse cases in Genesee and Shiawassee counties. Even worse, the abuse kids are suffering is more severe than they’ve ever seen.
“We’re seeing lots of marks left on kids, items being thrown at kids, belt on kids, just all kinds of different bruises all over the entire body,” Executive Director Nyse Holloman said. “And, it’s something that kids should not have to go through and the kids are sometimes feeling that it’s their fault that it’s happening. And we always constantly have to remind them that they didn’t do anything wrong.”
Since the coronavirus pandemic began, Holloman said Voices for Children has seen a rise in child abuse cases.
While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact reason, she said everyone is stressed with the push to stay home and Holloman believes many have hit their breaking points.
That’s what Leyton believes happened in the Flint Township case. He believes Dortch was fed up after the little girl became sick.
In their investigation, Leyton said they discovered the abuse may have been ongoing for some time. Holloman said this situation with one parent working and a live-in partner abusing the child while in charge all too common.
“It’s what these perpetrators do -- they try and scare the kid into not telling their mom or any other relative about what’s happening to them,” she said.
During the winter months, Holloman said physical abuse may not be as easy to spot with long sleeves and jackets on. So, she’s asking anyone with little ones in their lives to pay extra attention.
“To how they’re sitting, if it hurts for them to sit down, if they can’t sit to one side, if they’re constantly standing up,” Holloman said.
She said the child’s behavior is another sign that may provide clues that something is wrong. Are they acting out or acting differently? Holloman said the child may be trying to communicate something.
Copyright 2021 WJRT. All rights reserved.