Montana Crime & Courts

Feb 10, 2014 11:46 PM by Joe Huisinga, David Sherman - MTN News

Trial begins for Montana man on child-abuse charges

GREAT FALLS - Jury selection began on Monday in Great Falls in the trial of Riley James Charlo-Whitworth.

Charlo-Whitworth is accused of severely beating the 23-month old son of his girlfriend Alexis Paul in January of 2013; he is charged with aggravated assault, criminal endangerment, tampering with evidence, and assault on a minor.

Police arrested Charlo-Whitworth and Paul after they brought the toddler to the hospital with what court documents described as "life-threatening injuries," including severe abdominal trauma and bruising all over his body.

The boy was flown to a Seattle hospital for treatment, and was released to live with his father's family near Missoula.

Paul was charged with criminal endangerment for failing to seek medical care for the child in a timely manner.

Court documents released last year state that when questioned by police, Charlo-Whitworth initially said that the child's injuries had been caused by a fall down a short flight of stairs. After being told of the severity of the injuries, Charlo-Whitworth then admitted that he had caused the injuries.

Court documents state that Charlo-Whitworth told police that he had spanked the child when the child wouldn't stop crying. He then covered the child's mouth with his hand, which caused significant bleeding, so Charlo-Whitworth gave the child a bath to clean him up.

After the bath, the child continued crying, so Charlo-Whitworth spanked the child again and hit him in the genitals.

Charlo-Whitworth then told police that he threw the child against the wall.

At some point, Charlo-Whitworth called Paul at work and told her that the child had fallen down the stairs; Paul told him to give the child a baby aspirin, and Charlo-Whitworth assured Paul that the child was fine.

At around midnight, Charlo-Whitworth dropped the child off at a relative's house and went to pick up the child's mother, Alexis, from work.

Charlo-Whitworth and Paul then picked up the child at the relative's house. Charlo-Whitworth told Paul that the child had fallen down the stairs and that was why he was bruised.

While at the relative's house, the relative asked Paul if she knew that the child had fallen down the stairs. Paul stated that she did know.

Court documents state that Paul then sat with the child on her lap and rubbed his back and arms while she and Charlo-Whitworth smoked marijuana.

Charlo-Whitworth then went outside to warm up the truck and did not come back inside.

The relative then confronted Paul about the child's injuries and said that she believed that Charlo-Whitworth had abused the child, and added that " happens a lot in Cascade County and they are going to find out." Paul denied that Charlo-Whitworth would do anything like that.

Paul and Charlo-Whitworth then went back to their apartment with the child; Paul put the child on her bed while she brushed her teeth and put on pajamas.

Paul and Charlo-Whitworth then watched a movie for about 20 minutes; Paul then decided to go to bed, and carried the child to his own room.

She said that she noticed the child was limp and unresponsive and couldn't kiss or hug her good-night as he usually did.

At that point, Paul decided to take the child to the emergency department.

The probable cause affadavit states that Paul "chose to delay medical care for 1 to 2 hours. While having knowledge that (the child) was injured, she used marijuana and did not act even after (the relative) advised her to get medical care for (the child)."

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