Man faces further child abuse charges in indictment

HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A Washington County man charged with beating his girlfriend’s 6-year-old autistic son is facing further charges in an indictment.

The Herald-Mail reports (http://bit.ly/1CRKLjs ) that 21-year-old Aaron Vanmeter was indicted Wednesday on child abuse and assault charges. The charges mostly mirror those Vanmeter already faced, but the indictment adds three counts of second-degree child abuse.

The sheriff’s office has said Dustin Barnhart of Hancock remains in critical condition at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington. He was taken there July 3 with severe head trauma and bruises.

Vanmeter’s attorney has said his client denies causing the injuries.

Vanmeter and the boy’s mother initially told investigators Dustin fell. Police say Vanmeter later acknowledged he sometimes hit and kicked Dustin, and grabbed him forcefully that night “to scare him into being good.”

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Information from: The Herald-Mail of Hagerstown, Md., http://www.herald-mail.com

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