Man accused of assaulting his toddler daughter

A Plunketts Creek Township man was charged Tuesday with “recklessly causing bodily injuries” to his 20-month-old daughter while she was in his care during the first weekend in December, state police alleged in court papers.

Samuel J. Saldivar Sr., 35, of 97 Scaifes Road, faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault and endangering the welfare of a child as a result of the alleged abuse, police said.

When Saldivar brought the child to her day care center on Dec. 4, a staff member discovered bruises on the girl’s entire left buttocks as she was about to change the toddler’s diaper, a trooper said in an affidavit.

The staff member did not see the bruises on the girl the previous Friday, police said, adding that Saldivar had sole custody of the child during the weekend.

The victim was taken to the Geisinger Child Advocacy Center in Sunbury, where a pediatrician examined her, police said.

The doctor noted what appeared to be handprint on the left buttocks, police said, adding that upon reviewing photographs of the injury taken by investigators and the day care center, the doctor believed the girl suffered “non-accidental trauma,” the trooper said in the affidavit.

When Saldivar was questioned about his daughter’s injuries, he told police that the child had fallen off “a porch-style swing” at a nearby park during the weekend he had her.

The father then “modified his explanation,” telling police that the bruises were caused when the girl struck a pole that supported the swing as she fell from the swing.

Saldivar said he did not inform the daycare staff about the injury when he dropped off his daughter on Dec. 4.

Following his arraignment before District Judge Gary A. Whiteman, he was released on $25,000 bail. While he is still allowed to see his daughter, the Court of Common Pleas has ordered that such visits must be supervised by the county’s Children and Youth Department.