Lino Lakes man charged for sexually assaulting toddler girl

Image 1 of 2

A 29-year-old Lino Lakes man is charged for sexually assaulting a 21-month-old girl, who was hospitalized for her injuries.

Sterling Robert Stewart received charges for first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree assault, and malicious punishment of a child.

According to the criminal complaint, the mother and her children went to Stewart's home on Saturday, Aug. 20. During that time, the mother had a headache and took a 2-hour nap, leaving the toddler girl in Stewart's care. At that time, the child didn't have any injuries.

When the mother woke up, the toddler was wrapped up in a blanket, sleeping. Stewart told the mother that the toddler had a blowout diaper and had washed her clothing. The mother also noticed some bruising on the little girl's face. Stewart told her the girl had fallen off the couch and hit a rocking horse. 

When the mother returned home with her kids, she noticed the toddler had more injuries.

On Aug. 21, the toddler girl was taken to a local hospital. Doctors found the girl had multiple bruises on her face, neck, and body, including her genitals. They also discovered she had extensive abdominal bruising with signs of internal injury to her liver. Due to her injuries, the toddler was hospitalized.

Medical officials determined the girl was the victim of severe assault and her injuries were not consistent with falling off the couch and hitting a rocking horse, as Stewart had described to the girl's mother. 

Stewart is currently in Anoka County Jail. He is next expected to appear in court on Sept. 20.