An Oregon man accused of burning his friend’s 10-month-old son with a lighter and beating the boy allegedly said he did so because he became frustrated with the boy’s crying, PEOPLE confirms.
Sean Anthony Middleton, 21, of Portland, faces four counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment and four counts of third-degree assault, with bail for each charge set at $5,000, and one count of harassment, with bail set at $1,500, Multnomah County jail records show.
The toddler’s mother told authorities she’d known Middleton for two to three months and thought she could trust him when she asked Middleton to babysit her son on Oct. 13, according to a probable cause affidavit.
The next evening, she told detectives, Middleton allegedly alerted her by text to say that her son had been scratched by a cat. An alleged subsequent text said the boy had bumped his head on a skateboard.
The woman told police she checked on her son on Oct. 14 and saw no injuries. But after she picked up the boy on Oct. 15, she told detectives that she and another friend both noticed burns and several bruises on the toddler while changing his diaper.
Middleton told her he didn’t know why the boy was bruised, the affidavit alleges.
The woman later took the boy to a hospital, and doctors who also noticed the suspicious injuries alerted police.
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Authorities catalogued bruises to the 10-month-old’s forehead, cheeks, chin, abdomen, genitals and back, along with a “moon-shaped” burn on his back, singed hair, and scratches on his face, according to the affidavit. The boy also tested positive for THC, a chemical found in marijuana. Doctors further said the boy was dehydrated, and likely had not been given food or water for multiple days.
Middleton later told detectives that he grew frustrated with the boy’s crying and grabbed the child by his chest, the court documents allege.
He also allegedly admitted to burning the boy’s back and hair with the lighter, saying he did so for no reason and that he “entertains his thoughts.”
Court records do not indicate whether Middleton, who was booked into the Multnomah County jail on Oct. 19, had entered a plea nor whether he has an attorney.