One of the first signs of trouble was a pair of semicircular bruises on the toddler’s face. To the pediatrician, they looked like bite marks. Then came a fuller medical examination: nine healing rib fractures, damage to the little girl’s pancreas, possible trauma to her brain.
The injuries led detectives to what they described as a horrifying case of sexual assaults involving five victims between the ages of 19 months and 11 years. The case against Adderli Jose Cruz-Rosario, 20, was laid out in a 55-count indictment filed in Montgomery County Circuit Court this week.
According to court records, after the pediatrician reported the injuries, detectives became involved and started talking to the toddler’s siblings. The detectives concluded that Cruz-Rosario had not only bitten and beaten the 19-month-old girl but also had thrown her against a wall and pinned her to the floor with exercise weights to try to get her to sleep. He also sexually assaulted her and four of her siblings, ages 6 to 11, according to the detectives.
The suspect knew all five children before the alleged abuse. Friday night, he remained locked in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility, held on two bonds totaling $1 million, according to jail officials.
A native of the Dominican Republic, Cruz-Rosario had been living in the Piney Branch area of Silver Spring and working as a day laborer, according to court records. His attorney, Theresa Chernosky, declined to comment Friday.
The accusations surfaced in April, when the toddler was taken to her pediatrician because of vomiting and a fever, according to the records. The doctor noted facial injuries that looked like bite marks, and the child was transferred to Children’s National Medical Center in the District, where a full exam was done and additional injuries indicating the child had been battered were discovered, the records show.
As the child was evaluated, detectives spoke to medical professionals and her siblings. That led them to charge Cruz-Rosario with abusing the toddler, and he was taken to the county jail April 26. Once he was behind bars, according to court records, the other children became more willing to speak to detectives.
As one of the children said, according to court records, he couldn’t hurt her anymore.
According to the indictment, Cruz-Rosario is charged with:
●Fifteen counts of allegedly abusing and assaulting the 19-month-old girl. Among the allegations: He wrapped a towel around her head and face to try to get her to sleep and compressed the child’s chest. Doctors found five injuries indicating that she had been sexually abused, according to court records.
●Eight counts of allegedly abusing and assaulting a 6-year-old girl.
●Thirteen counts of allegedly abusing and assaulting an 8-year-old girl. The girl told police that he also abused another sister.
●Nine counts of allegedly abusing and assaulting a 10-year-old boy. He also showed the child “adult videos,” according to charging documents signed by Montgomery Detective Chad Williams.
●Ten counts of abusing and assaulting an 11-year-old girl. Cruz-Rosario threatened her, fondled her and sexually assaulted her, according to Williams.
Cruz-Rosario faces the possibility of spending the rest of his life in prison if convicted of all charges, prosecutors said.