A Charleston man is accused of forcing his girlfriend’s toddler into scalding water, causing burns that kept the boy hospitalized for a month.
Reginald Bruce Taylor Jr., 26, of King Street, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of inflicting or allowing great bodily injury to a child.
Magistrate Linda Lombard said Thursday that the boy “is permanently scarred in his private parts.” She set Taylor’s bond at $250,000.
Relatives of Taylor and the boy disagreed about whether the scalding was accidental or intentional.
Taylor and the boy’s mother brought the 2-year-old to Medical University Hospital around 3 p.m. Dec. 1, at least two hours after the injury occurred at their apartment on King Street. He had second-degree burns.
No one had called 911, according to an incident report from the Charleston Police Department.
The couple first told doctors that the boy was accidentally burned during a hot bath, but inconsistencies arose in their stories, the report stated.
Taylor, who is not related to the boy, said he stepped out of the bathroom, and when he returned he found the boy standing in the hot bath water, he said.
The couple could not agree on who was in the apartment at the time, according to the report.
Experts at the hospital said the burns were intentionally inflicted, basing their opinion on which body parts were hurt — his feet, buttocks and genitals.
They said he was likely forced into the scalding water and held there, according to the report.
State Department of Social Services workers removed the boy from the home and initially placed him with his grandmother, the report stated. The grandmother no longer is caring for the boy, and he is back in state custody, the boy’s relatives said at the bond hearing Thursday.
Detective Melvin Magwood said during the proceeding that “this is the most horrific case I have had to work in my 15 years of investigation.”
The boy’s grandmother and uncle said they were shocked that anybody would do this to a child. They asked for a high bond.
Four of Taylor’s family members defended him at the bond hearing. His mother, Charlesetta Taylor, said her son was upset that he was denied visitation rights to his own son, 1, but would never hurt a child. She and the other family members said the scalding was an accident after the 2-year-old turned on the hot water.
Relatives of both families continued to disagree about what happened.
“Reginald is a good person, and I don’t understand why no one sees that,” his sister, Tawanda Jenkins, said after the hearing. “Two-year-olds are going to get into things. It was an accident. But there is a God, and he sees it.”
Taylor’s mother said she has collected more than 450 signatures attesting that her son would never intentionally hurt a child.
“My child has provided medicine, shoes, clothes, care and love since the child was 6 months old,” she said. “The truth will reveal itself. God knows the truth.”
Grant Clifton, the boy’s uncle, said he wants to see a trial so the truth can come out.
“I’m not here to make theological debates about it,” he said after the hearing. “Let the law of the land prevail, and justice will reveal itself.”
Clifton said he hasn’t been able to find out how the boy is doing.
“It’s a sad situation when you’re going through something like this and you don’t know what’s going on,” he said.
Taylor says on his Facebook page that he works “On Da Block.” Pictures on his profile show him holding stacks of cash. He has a 2003 conviction for possession of marijuana, according to court records.
Taylor told the judge at his bond hearing that he is a dishwasher at Jestine’s Kitchen on Meeting Street.
A photo on the mother’s Facebook page shows Taylor lifting a boy above his shoulder. Taylor and the boy’s mother are smiling in the picture that was uploaded on Christmas Day. It is captioned, “Like father like son.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede. Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553 or twitter.com/dmunday.
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