Central Falls couple charged with abusing toddler

Christopher Stanley (left) and Kirstie Cullen (right) are facing first-degree child abuse charges.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A Central Falls mother and her boyfriend are facing horrific child abuse allegations against the woman’s 3-year-old son.

Chris Stanley, 25, and Kirstie Cullen, 26, were arraigned on one count each of first-degree child abuse and conspiracy Wednesday morning and ordered held on $50,000 bail.

According to prosecutors, the Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) contacted police on April 27 about a child at Hasbro Children’s Hospital who doctors found to be malnourished and bruised – with a welt on his forehead. They said the boy also had severe damage to his throat as if something had been forced down it, and had a body temperature of 86 degrees. A normal body temperature is 98.6.

Prosecutors said Cullen initially claimed she came home to find the child in a bathtub with cold, running water and the child blue and lethargic. She said she did not immediately call 911 because her phone wasn’t charged and waited at least one hour for Stanley – her boyfriend – to come home. She reportedly said the couple waited even longer for someone to give them a ride to Memorial Hospital.

Prosecutors said Cullen eventually admitted to hitting the boy and putting him in cold water. However, during an outburst in court, she denied that she admitted that.

Prosecutors also said Stanley admitted to police that he did occasionally strike the boy.

Despite his injuries, the boy is expected to recover.

The DCYF has since obtained a protective custody order for both children who live in the household, according to spokesperson Kerri White.

White said the agency has had no prior involvement with the family.