WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) – A man facing a child abuse charge out of West Warwick for allegedly assaulting his six-week-old daughter, spent years in a Florida prison on a similar charge, a Target 12 review of legal documents reveals.
Ronald Bliss, 34, of West Warwick, was charged in September with first degree child abuse for allegedly forcing an object down the throat of his newborn daughter. The object was later removed at Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
In 2003 Bliss was arrested and charged with child neglect causing “great bodily harm” according to records provided by the Collier County Florida Sheriff’s office.
According to a police incident report from that time, the Florida Department of Children and Families brought twin baby boys to the hospital with a “burned hand and foot.”
“In addition to the burns, the [doctor] found some bruises on the face,” the report states. “The other baby has a … hemorrhage in the left eye.”
Both babies were given a CAT scan because the doctor suspected shaken baby syndrome.
Bliss was convicted of child abuse in 2006 and sent to a Florida prison, he was released in 2010.
The West Warwick incident happened on Sept. 6, according to records, but Bliss was charged weeks later after a review of the evidence, according to the Attorney General’s office. Bliss has pleaded not guilty.
West Warwick police worked with the Attorney General’s Child Abuse Unit on the case, which was established in 2011 according to Amy Kempe a spokesperson for Peter Kilmartin.
“The Unit uses a multidisciplinary approach to prosecuting child physical and sexual abuse cases, working closely with Day One, Child Protection Program at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, DCYF and local police departments,” Kempe said in an email.
“Based on the initial review of evidence, the chief prosecutor in the Child Abuse Unit advised West Warwick PD to charge first degree child abuse,” Kempe said.
At Bliss’ initial hearing on Sept. 30, court records show he was released on $20,000 personal recognizance. Arthur Parise – Bliss’ defense attorney – said District Court Associate Judge William C. Clifton presided over the hearing. Kempe said the West Warwick police department handled the initial arraignment.
A warrant for being a probation violator was issued out of Florida because of the Rhode Island charges. Bliss was then brought back to court and without bail.