Crime

His girlfriend’s son had a scab under his eye. The toddler said ‘daddy’ burned him

A Richland man is charged with burning a 3-year-old child on the face, just under his left eye.

The boy, when questioned about the circular scab, told police that “his daddy put it there” while smoking a cigarette, according to court documents.

Xavier L. Calhoun, 28, is not the boy’s biological father, but lives with his mother and another child, age 2.

He now is in jail on $50,000 bail.

He pleaded innocent Tuesday in Benton County Superior Court to second-degree assault of a child. The felony charge includes the aggravating circumstance that he was in a position of trust.

The boy’s mother denied responsibility for the burn, and claimed the toddler “ran into a cigarette when (Calhoun was) smoking one,” documents said. No charges have been filed against the mother.

The two young boys have been taken into the custody of state Child Protective Services. They’d previously been taken away by CPS on Sept. 1, records show.

Richland police were called Oct. 20 about a young boy riding a scooter around a Richland apartment complex while naked. The caller told dispatchers that no parent had been seen for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Officer Erik Lundquist noted it was 53 degrees outside as he drove to the complex, where he found a scooter in front of a building.

Calhoun was on the back porch of the apartment, wearing no shirt or shoes despite the cooler temperature, court documents said.

The mother also was there holding the 2-year-old as the 3-year-old came running out of the apartment. Both children were not wearing any clothes, documents said.

Lundquist observed that Calhoun was under the influence of something, and the mother was very dirty with sores on her face. Both boys also were very dirty and allegedly had bruises on their bodies.

The 3-year-old, in addition to the scab on his cheek, had a red mark on the top of his head, court documents said.

The woman told police that she and her boyfriend both use methamphetamine.

She claimed that Calhoun “often hit her on her face with an open hand” and had caused the multiple bruises on her arms, documents said. She alleged Calhoun also hit and pushed the two kids, though not as roughly as he did with her.

The boys were taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland to be examined.

A doctor concluded that the scab on the 3-year-old face was consistent with a cigarette burn and was 2 to 4 days old based on how it was healing, court documents said.

The doctor also found the boy had a severely broken tooth.

The boy told authorities his mother broke it out with a large knife, then told another investigator that he’d chipped his tooth while he was eating fish crackers.

The boy said his mom and dad like to fight and that “he is scared all of the time,” documents said.

Calhoun, during his Tuesday court hearing, was told he is to have no contact with either child while his case is pending.

Kristin M. Kraemer covers the judicial system and crime issues for the Tri-City Herald. She has been a journalist for more than 20 years in Washington and California.
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