Photo Gallery | Nikolaus Trombley appears in court
BRATTLEBORO — A man accused of child abuse is being held without bail due to a probation violation stemming from a previous domestic assault charge.
Nikolaus Trombley, 27, of Brattleboro, was arraigned Monday at Windham Superior Court Criminal Division for second-degree aggravated assault with a prior domestic-assault conviction and cruelty to a child. He pleaded not guilty to both charges. He is being held at Southern State Correctional Facility.
An investigation began on May 14. The Brattleboro Police Department conducted interviews after a 5-year-old victim was brought to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital's Emergency Department. The victim suffered head trauma.
Trombley said the victim fell off a countertop while he was out of the room and hit her head, according to an affidavit. But a doctor said the marks and injuries on the victim did not appear consistent with Trombley's statement.
Bruises were found on the victim's knees, elbows, back, buttocks, face, head and behind her ears. Further medical evaluation indicated that some of the bruises had "a patterned quality," police said.
Investigators further questioned the bruising.
"The object used appears to have a solid rounded frame with a circular inside that is either hollow or not flush with the outside frame," police said.
The victim said Trombley used a spoon to spank her buttocks and head, according to police. A wooden spoon was taken as evidence from the victim's residence, where Trombley was living at the time.
A doctor told police the bruises on the victim's lower back "were really quite concerning and very consistent with child abuse. And there was pretty much no doubt in my mind that's what this is."
A family member of the victim told police Trombley is addicted to heroin and things changed when Trombley would come around. The victim would shove her hands into her mouth when she was nervous because she didn't want to talk. Mittens were put on the victim's hand for five hours as punishment.
The family member also told police the victim had a bump on her forehead the "size of an egg," according to the affidavit. The incident was reported to the Department of Children and Families.
The victim said Trombley would tell her not to talk about the spanking because Trombley "could see her anywhere that she was and he could see her through his phone," according to the affidavit. The victim told another family member that Trombley went to the doctor every day to get "dosed" and he would drink a lot if he didn't. The victim claimed Trombley would drag her by her toes to a bedroom and push her hard onto the bed.
"Sometimes, he'd hold her face to the pillow so it was hard to breathe. Or hold her neck," the affidavit said. "He also sometimes would step hard on her stomach."
Defense attorney Evan Chadwick said Trombley has been on probation since 2014 and plans to "vigorously fight" the new charges.
"These are just allegations at this point," said Chadwick.
Once released from prison, Trombley's court-ordered conditions will not allow him to have contact with the victim or engage in criminal behavior.
Contact Chris Mays at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 273.