Suspected child abuser arrested
Urasoe Police arrested a 27-year-old man on suspicion of an assault causing a bodily injury on a 5-year-old child.
The man, who works at a senior citizens’ day care service center in Nishihara, is suspected of pressing a hot hair straightener on the bare leg of a 5-year-old boy, the second son of his live-in girlfriend, causing severe burns.
Police also arrested the 26-year-old mother of the boy on charges of assisting a criminal because she gave a false statement during a voluntary questioning by the police.
According to Okinawa Prefectural Police First Investigation Division, the burns on the boy’s right shin and calf will take 4 ~ 8 weeks to heal completely. The assault took place in an apartment in Nishihara town in mid-January.
When police questioned the mother voluntarily about the burns on Feb. 6th, she gave the investigators a statement claiming the burns were an accident.
According to the nursery school the boy attends, he had been absent from the school for a few days in early December last year and the school staff called the Okinawa Central Child Protection Center. At that time, staff from the center and police visited the couple’s home but found no evidence of abuse.
However, the older son had been taken to a temporary protection by the Center at the end of December because he had had a bruise on the right ear, but the center failed to inform the Prefectural Police about the protection. As for the reason of not offering the information, officials at the center explained, “We were unsure whether the bruise was a result of abuse.”
Police say the burn was discovered at the nursery school on Jan. 18. The nursery school staff called the Nishihara Town Ozffice, who then contacted the Child Protection Center resulting in police launching an investigation.