Man indicted in abuse of boy, woman

Regional

March 27, 2002|By M. Dion Thompson | M. Dion Thompson,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore Circuit Court grand jury indicted a 32-year-old West Baltimore man yesterday on child abuse and domestic violence charges in a case city prosecutors hailed as a first in their efforts to link such cases whenever possible.

Michael M. Cole is charged with five counts of first-degree assault and six counts of child abuse against a 3-year-old boy. He also is charged with one count of domestic violence against the boy's mother.

Keeping the domestic violence and child abuse charges together represents a new tactic in dealing with abuse cases and is part of a national trend, prosecutors said. Previously, related cases of child abuse and domestic violence were handled by separate prosecutors and different courts.

"This way, we have a more coherent view of what the defendant is doing," said Julie Drake, assistant state's attorney and chief of the child abuse unit.

Police learned about the case early on Feb. 26, after the boy's 22-year-old mother brought him to Mercy Medical Center downtown. Charging documents indicate the mother had seen bruises on her son's face and body and noticed that he walked bent over and was limping. When she asked the boy who had done this to him, the child replied, "Michael," the documents said.

At police headquarters, the mother told investigators she had seen Cole punch the child as the boy begged him to stop, according to charging documents. Cole is being held without bail at the Baltimore City Detention Center.

Cole moved into the family's home in late December, said Drake. He has twin 4-month-old sons by the mother, but is not the father of the injured child.

All of the children are in the care of the Department of Social Services. The agency and Juvenile Court officials will decide whether to return them to their mother, said Drake. The 3-year-old is recovering from his wounds.

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