MANCHESTER — Police arrested a woman Monday on charges that she tried to conceal injuries that a 10-year-old boy suffered during a beating in her Manchester home, police said.
Sirializ Otero, 36, who works as a nurse at Connecticut Children's Medical Center, was charged with risk of injury to a minor and cruelty to persons, police said. Otero posted bail of $75,000 after her arraignment in Manchester Superior Court and is due back in court on Aug. 13.
Police say Otero initially lied about how the boy suffered injuries to his face and left arm, but then admitted that a man she lives with had beaten the boy for misbehaving in school, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Police say Otero and the man then decided to keep the boy out of school for a week until his injuries were less obvious.
The man's name and relationship to the boy were redacted from the affidavit. Police spokesman Capt. Christopher Davis said the investigation is continuing.
Police were called to Buckley Elementary School on May 20 after school officials noticed that the fifth-grader had suspicious injuries, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. A man, evidently the boy's male guardian, came to the school and told investigators that the boy was "rough-housing" with his brothers on their bunk beds and must have fallen, police said.
The boy had been out of school the previous week, police said. Asked why, the man said the boy "had behavioural issues at home and at school and was kept out to teach him a lesson," the warrant said.
Det. Andrew Young interviewed the boy, who had a large bruise on the left side of his face from his hairline to his jaw, and significant swelling and bruising around his left elbow that distorted the shape of his arm. Asked how he was hurt, the boy said another child had pushed him into a wall while they were playing in their bedroom, police said. The boy was taken to Connecticut Children's Medical Center, where an X-ray revealed a fracture above his left elbow. He also had suffered a tear in his left eardrum.
While the boy was being treated, Otero, a registered nurse, was working on the hospital's seventh floor, police said.
"At no time did Sirializ come down to the emergency room to check on [the boy]," the warrant said. "During a subsequent interview with Sirializ, she knew that [the boy] was in the emergency room, but said she was too busy to come see him."
Otero's employment status with the hospital could not be determined Monday evening.
"We just became aware of this new development and we're currently gathering more information related to it," hospital spokesman Bob Fraleigh said in a prepared statement. "Until we have all the facts, it would be premature to comment further."
The boy's male guardian told police that he received a call on May 9 from the principal of the boy's school, who said the boy had been chewing gum in school and being disrespectful to his teacher, police said. As punishmnent, the man said, he forced the boy to hold a 3-pound weight in front of him for about 30 seconds before the boy started crying, then forced him to hold a push-up position, the warrant says. The man said he kept the boy out of school from May 12 to 16 and made him do chores "to teach him a lesson," police said.
Otero initially told police that she first noticed marks on the boy on May 14, but halfway through the interview, Young wrote, he confronted her, saying he did not believe she was being honest about her knowledge of the boy's injuries.
Otero then said that on May 9, the man she lives with hit the child in the arm with a wooden stick about as thick as the diameter of a nickel, police said. She also admitted that the boy was kept out of school "solely because of the injuries he sustained during the assault" the warrant says.
Police interviewed the boy's male guardian a second time on May 29, after he told investigators he wanted to "come clean" about the incident, the warrant said. The man admitted that he had hit the boy with a stick twice in the left arm while the child was holding a weight, police said. The force of the first blow snapped the stick in half, and the man said he hit the boy a second time with the broken stick, police said.
The man said he did not believe, however, that the beating caused the fracture to the boy's arm, police said. He also told police that the boy suffered his facial injury when he fell after being struck, but a doctor told investigators that the injuries were consistent with being slapped and not with a fall, police said.
The man said that he and Otero "discussed their options" in allowing the boy to return to school, police said. Otero, the man said, concluded that the boy could return with the arm injury, but school officials would question the facial injury. He said he and Otero decided to keep the boy out of school for a week so school officials would not notice the injuries, police said.
Otero told police that the boy wore a long-sleeved shirt when he returned to school to hide the injuries to his arm. Police say the state Department of Children and Families has been notified about the case.