Man who felt he was disrespected by 4-year-old charged with child abuse

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SALT LAKE CITY — A man accused of causing numerous injuries to a 4-year-old boy, including a gaping head wound, was formally charged Thursday.

Torrence Ezell Thomas, 21, of Millcreek, was charged in 3rd District Court with child abuse, a second-degree felony.

On Tuesday, Unified police were called to St. Mark's Hospital about 2 p.m. A 4-year-old boy was being treated for a "laceration 4 inches long to the back of his head with heavy bleeding" and "large raised bruises to his back and lacerations," according to a Salt Lake County Jail report.

The boy received six staples to close the head wound, and also had "multiple bruises and scratches" on his back and "large bruises" on his buttocks, as well as bruising on his face, the charges state. The boy was transported to Primary Children's Hospital.

The boy's mother told police that her boyfriend "had disciplined (the boy) for not wanting to get ready for swimming," the report states.

Charging documents added that Thomas claimed he was disciplining the boy "for disrespecting him" and that he was "whooping" the boy with a belt. He told police the boy kept "squirming and falling" while he was "whopping" him with the belt, charging documents state.

"That's when Torrence picked (the boy) up so high, (the boy) hit his head on the side of the closet wall door frame, causing a large laceration to the back of his head. Torrence said he knew he messed up and called (the mother) to tell her what happened," the report states.

Bail was set at $200,000. If Thomas makes bail, he was ordered to wear a GPS monitor and have no contact with the victim.


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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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