OLEAN — Olean police have arrested an Olean man on allegations of physically abusing his mentally and physically disabled adult stepdaughter.
Ronald L. “Ronnie” Miller, 59, of 1526 Martin St., was charged at 1:33 p.m. Wednesday with first-degree endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, a class E felony; and third-degree assault, a class A misdemeanor.
Explaining the charges Thursday afternoon, Olean Police Capt. Robert Blovsky said investigators believe Miller lost his temper while trying to calm his “severely disabled” 27-year-old stepdaughter between 2 and 3 a.m. Monday, allegedly hitting her with his hand and causing “serious bruising” to her buttocks.
Blovsky said health care professionals have equated the alleged victim’s mental capacity to that of a 4- or 5-year-old. She receives 24-hour care by a home-nursing staff, he added.
A daytime nurse saw the bruising and notified Adult Protective Services on Wednesday, Blovsky said.
In a statement of admission to police obtained by the Times Herald, Miller said he “spanked her … no more than twice that I can think of. She does bruise real easy.”
Miller told investigators his stepdaughter hadn’t slept in three nights.
“The girl was up; she wasn’t sleeping,” Blovsky said. “He went down to assist her in getting back to bed, and that’s what he did. … We asked him, and he said that was the first time he slapped (her) like that. He admitted he lost it, went too far.”
Investigators believe the severity of the bruising — a roughly 10-inch-by-10-inch “red, black and purple” area on the alleged victim — could physical blows than the defendant initially admitted.have been a result of harsher
There was “a lot of force used,” Blovsky said. “From what we saw, it was a very large, swollen bruise. It started as red — now, this is coming from the nurse — and it bubbled up. It was pretty painful to her, I’m sure.”
But he noted, “If the injuries were so severe she had to go to the hospital, there’d have been additional charges. It wasn’t a case where she needed to go to the hospital.”
The alleged victim’s mother, identified in a police report as Melody A. Miller, 49, of the same address, was home at the time of the alleged abuse, Blovsky said. An evening nurse also was at the home.
An investigation is continuing into potential negligence, he added, noting future interviews with home-nursing staffers will be necessary.
“The mother works, so she’s gone during the day,” Blovsky said. “They have a daytime nurse. The stepfather really doesn’t do much to take care of her because they have these nurses.”
Other unexplained “marks” were present on the alleged victim’s body, Blovsky said.
“She does have seizures from time to time,” he added, “so I don’t know if (those other marks) were by her own doing or anything like that.”
Miller agreed to an investigator interview at the Olean City Police Department and was taken into custody without incident. He was remanded to Cattaraugus County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail. He is due in Olean City Court on Tuesday for a preliminary hearing.
City Judge Daniel Palumbo issued an order of protection against Miller, Blovsky said.
(Contact reporter Kelsey M. Boudin at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @KelseyMBoudin)