A child was handcuffed and severely beaten by his mother’s boyfriend for eating a piece of birthday cake without permission, Hagerstown police said Thursday.

The boy has been hospitalized at Children’s National Medical Center in the District since Tuesday night in critical condition, police said.

His mother’s boyfriend, Robert Leroy Wilson, 30, has been charged with assault and child abuse.

Police said an adult who was in the apartment at the time of the assault called 911, but when emergency personnel arrived, the boy’s mother told paramedics that her son was just “congested.” The paramedics left but were called back four hours later when the boy stopped breathing, at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Police said that the child had bruises all over his body.