Man charged after school officials report that 4-year-old boy was hit in the face

Crime

ELKINS, W.Va. — A man has been charged after school officials reported to deputies that a 4-year-old boy had been struck in the face.

On Dec. 21, deputies with the Randolph County Sheriff’s Department received a call from an individual at 3rd Ward Elementary School in Elkins in reference to possible child abuse, according to a criminal complaint.

When deputies responded to the school, they saw a 4-year-old boy who “had bruising on his right cheek from the mouth area to his eye” and “a busted bottom lip,” deputies said.

Justin Tilley

School officials told deputies that they had received a call to check on the child because “he slipped on a toy,” but the child told school staff that the injuries had been caused by Justin Tilley, 35, of Elkins, because Tilley “was mad at him for getting in trouble at school,” according to the complaint.

When a school staff member asked if Tilley “hit him with a closed or open hand,” the child showed “his hand in a fist,” and while deputies were assessing the juvenile, “he stated multiple times that Tilley ‘hits me’,” deputies said.

Deputies then went to Tilley’s residence and made contact with him, and after reading Tilley his rights, he agreed to speak, according to the complaint.

During the discussion, Tilley told deputies that “he was attempting to correct [the child] for his behavior from school.” Tilley said the child had “been biting at school and at home,” and that he began “tapping the boy in the mouth” but that “this time it was too hard,” according to deputies.

When deputies asked Tilley why he thought that time was “too hard,” Tilley replied that it was “because he does have anger issues,” and that “he may have got [the boy] on the side of the head as well,” according to a criminal complaint.

Tilley has been charged with child abuse resulting in injury. He is being held in Tygart Valley Regional Jail on $35,000 cash-only bond.

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