A Gettysburg man who police said abused a 4-year-old boy to the point the child had life threatening injuries was sentenced Thursday in Adams County Court to three-to-six years in state prison.
Michael Love, 22, pleaded guilty to aggravated assault in May and the sentence was part of a plea agreement with the Adams County District Attorney’s office.
According to court documents, the child’s mother gave him to Love in September 2010 after the two met at a homeless shelter.
The boy then lived with Love in his Chambersburg Street apartment.
On Dec. 4, the juvenile was found unresponsive and taken to Gettysburg Hospital before being transferred to the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, where he remained for nearly a month.
Adams County District Attorney said the boy “had multiple injuries, including a subdural hematoma (blood clotting on the surface of the brain), multiple bruises and abrasions, burns on his skin, a vertebral fracture, as well as vertebral compression fractures, a fractured finger, and corneal abrasions.”
In an affidavit, Gettysburg Police said Love beat the child because he thought the boy was hiding food. They also reported Love failed to get medical attention for the child on multiple occasions including Dec. 1, when the boy fell out of a moving vehicle and bled from the mouth, and two days later when the child was found face down in a bathtub.
A juvenile witness told Adams County Children and Youth Services that on one occassion Love got on top of the child and punched him at least 20 times.
Common Pleas Judge Thomas Campbell told Love during sentencing “he hoped he spent every day during his prison term thinking about what happened to that child.”
A letter from the boy’s foster parents, read Thursday by Adams County Assistant District Attorney Brian Sinnett, described the child’s recovery efforts as ongoing, but miraculous after doctors initially said he may never walk again.
“He will have a lifetime of physical and emotional problems to overcome,” the foster parents wrote. “What could a four-year-old boy have done to deserve this?”