The man accused of pulling three permanent teeth out of the mouth of a developmentally disabled child in his care has now been indicted on felony assault counts, authorities said Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a fund has been set up for the child to help with any future expenses, including higher education.
Steven D. Walker, 34, of Gallupville, was indicted Wednesday on two counts each of second-degree assault, a felony, and endangering the welfare of a child, a misdemeanor, the Schoharie County District Attorney’s Office and state police said.
He was to be arraigned later in Schoharie County Court and was expected to plead not guilty, his attorney Ryan McAllister said Wednesday.
Walker was arrested Nov. 21 and accused of assaulting the 8-year-old child by extracting three of her teeth with a pair of pliers. The child was taken out of the home and placed in foster care at the start of the investigation.
The case began after the girl complained of mouth pain at school, police said. She was examined by her regular dentist, who noted that three of the permanent teeth that had replaced baby teeth had been forcibly removed.
The dentist then reported the incident to Schoharie County Child Protective Services, which then contacted state police. The girl was then examined by a state police forensic odontologist and an oral surgeon, and the case moved forward.
Schoharie County Commissioner of Social Services Paul Brady said Wednesday he could not comment in detail on the investigation, but did say the girl is doing well and has been placed with a family she knows.
Her medical care and other needs are being met while she is in foster care, he said.
Community concern for the girl has led Brady to set up an account for her at NBT Bank. All money donated to the fund will follow her and be used for her long-term needs once she leaves foster care and as she gets older, Brady said. He envisions it being used for a computer or even education.
Those wishing to donate to the account can do so at any NBT Bank branch. Checks or money orders should be made payable to “Paul Brady Custodian.”