ST. PETERSBURG — A 41-year-old man was arrested after police said a 5-year-old boy he was caring for suffered critical injuries.
John Gerald Whelan was arrested on charges of aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm and child neglect. He was booked into Pinellas County Jail early Friday morning.
The investigation started when police officers and paramedics were called to a St. Petersburg around 7:42 p.m. Thursday to help a 5-year-old boy experiencing medical issues.
The child was taken to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital, where police said doctors discovered he had bruising and trauma to the face, rib fractures, internal bleeding and damaged organs. Detectives were called in to investigate.
Investigators said Whelan struck the boy in the head and abdomen with his closed fist. The abuse occurred over several months, police said, and Whelan never sought medical help for the child.
The 5-year-old was reported to be critical condition Friday.
Police did not disclose Whelan's relationship to the child. He is being held in the jail in lieu of $100,00 bail.