A Lino Lakes man is charged with multiple felonies for allegedly physically and sexually assaulting a toddler in his care.

Sterling Robert Stewart, 29, of Lino Lakes was charged Tuesday in Anoka County District Court with first-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child. He remains jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail with conditions, according to the Anoka County Attorney’s Office. His next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 20.

According to charges, the 21-month-old girl was brought to the hospital Sunday multiple external and internal injuries throughout her body, including her head, abdomen and genitals. The girl’s mother said no injuries were present when she brought the toddler to Stewart’s home the day before. While they were there, the mother took a two-hour nap and awoke to find bruising on the girl’s face, which Stewart said was caused by a fall from the couch. The mother discovered additional injuries after leaving Stewart’s home.

Medical professionals determined that the injuries were the result of a “severe assault,” and that the abdominal bruising was uncommon and indicated “severe trauma.”

In a statement, Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumbo applauded investigators with the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and Lino Lakes police for their swift investigation.

“This office will work closely with the victim’s family to make sure, if these charges are proven, that the criminal justice system holds the defendant fully responsible for these heinous injuries.” Palumbo said in a statement.

STAFF REPORTS