CLEARFIELD, Pa. (WTAJ) — A Clearfield couple that allegedly used make-up to try and hide the abuse of a 3-year-old has been charged in court, police said.
Court documents show that 39-year-old Richard Hudak and 28-year-old Christina Swanson are both facing charges of child endangerment and recklessly endangering another person. Hudak also has a harassment charge.
Police were notified by Penns Highland staff of suspected child abuse on Jan. 21, when the 3-year-old’s father picked him up in a custody exchange and said the child had bruises and complained of chest pain so he brought him to the hospital.
According to police, the father told them that the child often times had bruises and that Swanson would text either him or his brother about the child falling down the stairs and saying he had a bruise from it.
The father allegedly took photos each time and when he filed for emergency custody, he told police that the judge denied it and told him that taking pictures of the bruises was a “petty” thing to do.
Police noted that they observed bruises that were in various stages of healing all over the boy’s body including his head, face, hips, buttocks, chest and up and down his arms.
Hudak and Swanson were reportedly suspects of abuse by the Clearfield Police Department since Nov. 2022.
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Through the investigation, it was discovered that Swanson took the child to daycare one day and workers noticed makeup was used on him to seemingly try to cover a black eye. When asked, Swanson reportedly told them he unbuckled from the car seat and she was unaware when she slammed on her brakes — claiming that the boy hit his face on the seat in front of him.
Investigators said that in every story they heard, Swanson had a different excuse about the bruises from falling down the stairs to a 5-year-old sibling “beating” them up and causing the bruising.
While interviewing the child, they said “daddy Richie,” their name for Richard, would often punch them. The child recalled a time he broke a cup that Kudak liked and got punched in the stomach.
Multiple medical reports were retrieved by investigators and each doctor at each hospital came to the same professional opinion that the child has been abused and it was highly unlikely a 5-year-old sibling could cause the bruising they saw.
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The criminal complaint also shows that police saw numerous photos sent to a relative of the child that showed human feces throughout the house but did not see the same when they went to speak with Swanson.
Both Swanson and Hudak were placed in Clearfield County Prison with bail set at $25,000.