Disclaimer: Details may be disturbing for some readers

NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — Steven J. Dougherty has been charged with felony charges related to the physical abuse of his girlfriend’s son, a 6-year-old kindergartner, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele and Lower Pottsgrove Township Police Chief Richard Bell. The 31-year-old allegedly physically abused the boy, who had been hospitalized at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia back in November 2021, police say.

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An examination by CHOP child abuse experts found injuries to the boy’s genitals, significant bruising and abrasions on the boy’s abdomen, chest, eyelids, arms and legs, and multiple bilateral rib fractures involving 14 ribs. According to the police report, the boy saw the school nurse on Nov. 18, 2021, as he arrived at school in pain.

The nurse referred the boy to the hospital. The boy reported, at the time, that his mother’s boyfriend “is a big, mean bully” and had bought him sneakers as an “I’m sorry gift.”

The boy’s mother, Emily Laster, was called to the school and told to take her son to the emergency room. The report also reads that two days prior to the nursing office incident, a 911 caller reported to Tredyffrin Township Police that the boy had climbed into her car and hid in the backseat in an attempt to get away from Dougherty. According to the police report, the boy said the man he was with was “trying to cut my pee-pee off and kill me.”

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Detectives found that in June 2021, the child had been seen at CHOP, brought in by his grandparents, who were concerned about his vomiting and diarrhea. The boy said fecal matter had been smeared on him by his mom’s boyfriend.

However, his mother said the boy had an accident and some fecal matter may have unintentionally been transferred on his face from a towel. The grandparents also made a report to police on Oct. 28, 2021, after seeing marks on the boy’s face and the child had told them “Steven” held his face under water trying to drown him, the police report continues.

On November 19, 2021, following the determination by CHOP child abuse experts, the Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth removed the boy from his mother’s home.

“This is a very disturbing case of physical abuse of a young child by the defendant,” Steele said. “Thankfully, the boy is now doing well in the care of other family members.”

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Dougherty was arrested on July 20, 2022, and was charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. Bail was set at $10,000. The defendant posted bail and was released.