Jury finds man guilty of burning toddler in hot water

Charleston police charged Reginald Bruce Taylor Jr., 29, of King Street, with inflicting or allowing great bodily injury to a child in January 2013.

A Charleston County jury on Wednesday found a man guilty of severely burning his girlfriend’s toddler by forcing him into a scalding bath.

Charleston police arrested Reginald Bruce Taylor Jr., 29, of King Street, in January 2013 and charged him with inflicting or allowing great bodily injury to a child. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Circuit Judge Roger Young will sentence Taylor at a later date, according to a news release from the 9th Circuit Solicitor’s Office.

An attorney for Taylor did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Police alleged that Taylor forced the child, then 2 years old, into scalding water after he had an accident while still being toilet trained. The second- and third-degree burns kept the child hospitalized for a month and resulted in permanent scarring.

When questioned by investigators, Taylor, who is not related to the child, reported that he stepped out of the bathroom and returned to find the boy standing in the hot bath water.

Hospital officials, however, testified that the burns to the boy’s feet, buttocks and genitals were intentionally inflicted.

“This community is so fortunate to have the access to and support of the world class doctors at (Medical University Hospital),” 9th Circuit Solicitor Scarlett Wilson is quoted in the release as saying. “Without their treatment to these young victims and follow-through with courtroom testimony, we would have a much tougher job in holding child abusers responsible.”

Taylor testified that he placed the child in the tub but that the boy turned on the hot water and burned himself, according to the release. He admitted under cross-examination, however, that the child was burned hours before he was transported to the hospital, the release said.

The child’s mother did not cooperate with doctors, law enforcement or the Solicitor’s Office, the release said. The boy spent time with a foster parent and with a grandparent before being returned to his mother’s custody in November 2014, the news release said.

Assistant Solicitors Shannon Elliott and Jennifer Shealy prosecuted the case, according to the news release.

“The victim’s injuries were horrendous and tough to see. We are hoping for his full recovery and grateful that the jury saw the facts and the defendant as we did,” Elliott said in the release.

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at Twitter.com/celmorePC.