Hearing Continued for Man Charged With Stepping on Child’s Head

| August 1, 2020

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – A hearing was continued on Wednesday for a Clarion man accused of stepping on a child’s head during an incident in Cranberry Township.

Court documents indicate a hearing for 33-year-old Justin David Graham scheduled for Wednesday, July 29, has been continued and is set to resume at 8:30 a.m. on August 12.

Graham faces the following charges:

– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3
– Simple Assault, Misdemeanor 1 (two counts)
– Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Misdemeanor 1

He is currently free on a $5,000.00 surety bond.

The charges stem from an incident that occurred in Cranberry Township, Venango County, in early May.

Details of the case:

According to a criminal complaint, on May 2, two known individuals went to the Franklin-based State Police to report an incident of child abuse involving Justin David Graham. They stated that he put a chair on a known 7-year-old juvenile’s head and sat on it. They told police the child also said Graham put his foot on her head and stepped on it.

The child reported the incident to her father after saying her head hurt the following day. She also told him that her mother didn’t want her to tell him about the incident, the complaint notes.

Police then spoke to the child’s mother, who reported she was in another room when the incident occurred, and heard Graham and the child “playing around and rough housing.” She told police the child did come into the bathroom crying at one point and went on to say she then “yelled” at Graham “for being too rough,” the complaint states.

According to the complaint, the child’s mother initially denied telling the child not to tell her father, but later she admitted she did because she didn’t want the child’s father to try to keep the child away from her. She also indicated she later kicked Graham out for an unrelated reason.

The child’s mother repeatedly denied ever seeing Graham abuse the child or her other four-year-old child. However, she stated she noticed a bruise on the younger child’s face several months ago, and the child reported that Graham caused it. She indicated Graham denied it and said the child was lying when she confronted him, the complaint indicates.

The younger child was also interviewed and did not disclose any abuse, according to the complaint.

However, police also spoke with the younger child’s biological father, who stated the child had returned to his residence previously with a bruise consistent with a handprint across her face, which she had stated was caused by Graham. He also provided police with a photograph of the bruise, the complaint states.

According to the complaint, Graham was interviewed, and admitted to “playing around” and “play fighting” with the victim, but denied a chair ever being involved and also denied putting his foot on the child’s head. He also reportedly stated he didn’t know how the younger child had received the previous bruise on her face.

Graham was arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Patrick E. Lowrey at 9:45 a.m. on July 9.

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