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Mother's boyfriend accused of abuse

An anonymous tip Tuesday led Largo police officers to a 2-year-old girl with a bite mark and numerous bruises police say were inflicted by her mother's boyfriend.

The child, identified as Victoria Corbier, was hospitalized. Her mother's boyfriend and her mother were arrested.

Mary Ann Corbier, 20, was charged with child neglect. Police say she knew her daughter was being abused, allowed it to happen and did not seek medical care for the child. She was being held at the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Her boyfriend, Steven J. Ippolito, 21, was charged with aggravated child abuse. His bail was $20,000.

The abuse was discovered as officials elsewhere investigate the recent deaths of six Florida children. In five of the cases, authorities say, the children were killed by a mother's boyfriend. On Tuesday, 2-year-old Jonathan Flam died in Tampa after being beaten by his mother's boyfriend, police say.

According to Largo police, Victoria was abused during the past two weeks. She was admitted to All Children's Hospital, where she remained Wednesday, for observation and testing.

"Before she went to the hospital to get checked out, she was here at the department while her mother was being questioned," police Capt. Joe Gillette said. "She was hugging people. She seemed to be in good spirits."

Police went to the couple's house at 2001 Sixth Place SW Tuesday night after a caller reported a child there had been abused. Officers asked to see both of Corbier's children.

Gillette said Corbier's 2-month-old son was fine. Victoria had bruises on her face, neck, chest, legs, stomach, arms, back and buttocks. A bite mark was on her left shoulder.

Police say Ippolito punished the girl by slapping and spanking her hard enough to cause bruises. According to an affidavit, he admitted biting Victoria. He told officers he punished her "as a normal parent does." Ippolito also said the child always falls down, bruises easily and has sensitive skin.

According to a police report, Corbier told officers she knew Ippolito hit her daughter and he had apologized for it. She said she had seen Ippolito grab the girl by the cheeks and spank her within the past two weeks. Corbier told police she did not get medical attention for her daughter because she was scared and did not know what to do.

Gillette said Largo police had not received any previous complaints involving Corbier and her children.

State Department of Children and Families officials released the infant to the custody of a relative.

The recent deaths have prompted Children and Families to consider several policy changes to ensure at-risk infants and toddlers are better protected. Among those changes is an "early warning system" that would identify all children younger than 6 who are in contact with a parent's boyfriend or girlfriend.