Woman charged with child cruelty after boyfriend's son suffers injuries

Kathryn Ashworth says 3-year-old injured before she picked him up from day care

By Erik Avanier - Reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A St. Augustine woman was arrested Tuesday after the Department of Children and Families found suspicious injuries on a child who was in her care, police said.

Kathryn Ashworth, 22, is charged with one count of cruelty toward a child.

According to the St. Augustine Police Department, a DCF caseworker stopped by to do a welfare check at a St. Augustine home Tuesday afternoon and during her visit, she found injuries on a 3-year-old boy who was being watched by Ashworth. 

After she was released Wednesday from the St. Johns County jail on $2,500 bond, Ashworth spoke with News4Jax. She said her boyfriend's 3-year-old son was likely injured at day care before she picked him up. 

"When she saw that, I explained to her what happened, but obviously she didn’t believe me so she stepped outside and called the abuse hotline on me," Ashworth said. 

Moments later, police arrived and arrested Ashworth.

"It hurts my feelings because I’m not a child abuser. I love kids. I’ve always wanted kids,' Ashworth said. "Everybody that knows me and (who) are hearing this are, like, 'Are you kidding me?'"

According to the arrest report, the boy had injuries to his cheek that were red in color. The report also states the boy had what appeared to be rug burns to his chin and bruising under his jaw.

Mark Baskerville, the boy’s father, said he had just come home from work when he discovered his girlfriend was being arrested. He told News4Jax his son's injuries were "clearly visible" and that he doesn't believe Ashworth's story. 

"He was fine when he left day care," Baskerville said. "A lot of people saw him." 

Ashworth admitted that she was already on DCF's radar following an incident in which the same child ended up with a broken arm. 

“Because I’m the parent at home with him, I get the blame for it," she said. 

A DCF representative said the boy is now in protective custody while the matter is being investigated. 

Meanwhile, the boy's father said he broke up with Ashworth following her arrest and that she is no longer welcome at his home. 

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