FREDERICK, Md. (AP) -- A man sexually abused a 1-year-old boy so severely that the boy needed surgery, according to court records.
Ryan E. Sheppard, 19, of Frederick was being held without bail Tuesday on allegations including first-degree sex offense and first-degree assault, authorities said. First-degree sex offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Frederick County prosecutors say the child underwent a colostomy June 22 at the National Children's Medical Center in Washington because of a torn colon. A colostomy is a small opening in the abdomen that allows waste to be passed into a bag worn by a patient. The procedure is usually reversible, according to the National Institutes of Health.
State's Attorney Charlie Smith said the case was deeply disturbing, even for those accustomed to the horrors of child abuse.
"I was chief of that division for years and have seen a lot of horrible abuse to children. But I just couldn't shake this one, especially the sorrow I feel for those parents," Smith wrote in an email to The Associated Press.
In charging documents filed Friday, Detective Mike Davies of the county sheriff's office wrote that Sheppard acknowledged he sexually assaulted the boy while the child was in his care. Sheppard told police he called the parents after noticing the boy was bleeding and having difficulty breathing.
The parents told Davies they arrived to find that the child's lips had turned blue or purple, so they called 911.
Sheppard also told Davies he had searched for and viewed child pornography on the Internet, according court records. Sheppard is not charged with any child pornography offenses.
Sheppard appeared Monday at his bail review without an attorney. No attorney of record was listed Tuesday afternoon.