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Couple charged for abusing 3 year old boy

Help stop child abuse
Help stop child abuse
Donna Kshir / Donna M. Kshir

For most survivors, child abuse is a lifetime of unspoken, emotional scars. As hard as it is to believe, some people are naive to the words child abuse and a large majority of those same people believe abuse only happens to those in poverty stricken homes and to uneducated people, but the truth is abuse does not discriminate. Abuse can happen to anyone regardless of sex, race, color, religion or sexual orientation.

Today CBS reported police charged a Pittsburgh couple in a child abuse case, stating "the 3-year-old victim had more facial bruises than they could count."

According to a police affidavit, police officers responded to a report of suspected child abuse. On arrival officers stated the 3-year-old victim had bruises on his face, neck and legs.

West Newton Police Chief Gary Indoff was quick to evaluate and identify the physical signs of abuse on the boy. Indoff said "it’s obvious the child was beaten and the anonymous neighbor who called to report the beatings probably saved the child’s life."

Indoff added, "This is a prime example why it’s not only necessary, but the right thing for members of the community to get involved in something."

The boy was examined at the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. According a reports by Dr. Jennifer Wolford, the boy suffered facial bruises that were “nearly too numerous to count; bruising and abrasions on his neck; bruising on both ears, arms, chest and legs, and two broken bones in his foot." The abuse the boy suffered also caused severe pain and trauma, and these injuries are likely to "have a detrimental effect on brain development."

When the child was asked how he obtained his injuries, the boy replied “he was hit and said that Ryan did it.”

“These injuries were caused by more than an accident,” said Indof. “It is extremely disheartening to see this happen to a small child.”

The victim’s mother, Christine Kowalski, told police Ryan Sullivan was responsible for caring for her kids while she worked nights. Kowalski claimed not seeing any “unusual marks” on her son when bathing him 5 days before his examination at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh. However, Kowalski later admitted to police she used heroin and that she did not take proper care of her children, stating there were days she did not see the child.

Following an investigation a caseworker from the Westmoreland County Children’s Bureau was called. The boy and his two siblings were removed from the home, and are currently in the care of the county’s youth services.

Charges were filed against Ryan Sullivan and Christine Kowalski. Sullivan is facing charges on felony aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. However, Kowalski is free on a $25,000 unsecured bond and she has been denied any unsupervised visits with her children.

Learn how to protect your children from abuse by learning the signs and symptoms of child abuse. One local organization making a difference in the lives of children is Dreamcatchers for Abused Children. Dreamcatchers is a 501 (c) 3 Michigan based non-profit child abuse and neglect awareness organization, dedicated to educating the public on the signs, symptoms, statics, intervention, prevention to assist victims and survivors in locating the proper resources to help achieve and enable a full recovery. This amazing organization was founded in 2007 by author and child abuse expert Sandra Dawn Potter.

For more information on Dreamcatchers for Abused Children, visit their website at:

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