Stay-at-home dad accused of abusing roommates’ children, including burning 11-month-old baby

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BAYTOWN — A Baytown man is facing charges after three couples came forward alleging he abused their children, including a small baby who was burned and bruised, according to court documents.

Nicholas Andrew Rivers, 23, has been charged with two counts of injury to child.

Rivers lived in a home with several other families. He was the only person not employed, and was the caretaker of all the children who lived  in the home. He is accused of going overboard while disciplining several of the children.

Jessica Bryant, Alex Schilling and their two daughters — including an 11-month-old baby — moved in to River’s home back in early April, court documents said. Unable to find a baby sister, the couple asked the stay-at-home father to watched their children while they went to work. Investigator said Rivers agreed to watch their children, along with his own, in order to help his roommates out.

The couple entrusted Rivers with their children for weeks until April 28 when Schilling made a disturbing discovery.

The couple said they came home from work and found their two daughters sleeping. Schilling took his 11-month-old daughter and brought her to their room where he noticed bruising across the infant’s body, including the bottom of her feet, he told police. When the father confronted Rivers about the injuries, Rivers denied knowing anything about it, court documents said.

The parents scheduled an appointment the next day with a pediatrician who advised them to take their daughter to Texas Children’s Hospital. After examining the infant, doctors determined she had a lacerated liver as a result of the bruising. The hospital staff also determined the injuries were not accidental.  Investigators said Child Protective Services was contacted, and the infant was temporarily taken out of the parents’ care.

Another parent who lived at the house told police she was at work on the day of the alleged incident involving the 11-month-old. Police said she agreed that the injuries did not appear to be accidental, but suggested that Rivers had a good explanation for them.

Rivers agreed to take a lie detector test, but when the scheduled date arrived, he did not show up. He told investigators he would set up another day. However, investigators said, he has avoided all forms of contact with them since the no-show.

In a separate incident at the same residence, CPS investigators said another mother, who had a 2-year-old, said she arrived home from work and noticed a red bruise on her child’s left leg in late February. At first, the mother assumed the child may have hurt herself,  but her eyebrows raised when another roommate said the bruise looked like a hand print and maybe someone hit the toddler. That mother then took a picture of the bruise and sent it to her roommate’s mother, who agreed the bruise resembled a hand print.

Officials said the mother asked the other adults in the house if anyone spanked the 2-year-old, but no one admitted to chastising the child. That is when the mother started to suspect Rivers. She asked him if he had spanked the toddler, and he denied doing so.

When authorities interviewed Rivers, officers said he admitted to spanking the 2-year-old girl up to 20 times over a 30- minute period. He said the little girl and his daughter were playing with a chalkboard when the 2-year-old slapped his daughter. Rivers said he walked up to the child and spanked her five times while telling her “we don’t hit people.” He said the 2-year-old was sent to the corner for time-out, but she kept looking back over her shoulder.

Rivers then smacked the child five more times on the leg and told her they are are “not allowed to look back when they were placed in time out.” He also sent her to her room, investigators said.

Once inside the room, the 2-year-old started crying and asking for her mother, and he responded by spanking her five more times. Investigators said after a while, the little girl quieted down and he brought her out of the room.

Rivers told police the two were barely out of of the bedroom when the child started crying again and asking for her mother so, again, he popped her five more times.

Rivers said he spanked the child in the same spot each time, which possibly could have led to the bruising, court documents said.

Rivers eventually confessed to the 2-year-old’s mother about spanking the girl, court documents said.

Investigators gathered all the evidence from all the parents and multiple charges were filed against Rivers. His bail was set at $5,000 in the case involving the 2-year-old. No bail amount has been set in the charge involving the 11-month-old.

Details about the case involving the third child are not available.