Left: Infant Robert Grodi III, before the burn incident
(Newport, MI) A grandmother in this small Monroe County community faces first degree child abuse charges after an incident in which her 9-month old grandson suffered severe burns to the legs, knees and feet.
Cheryl Ann Grahl, 50, maintains her innocence, and told policethat the child climbed into a hot tub and turned on the water himself.
"I will not plead guilty to something I haven't done," Grahl told WTVG-13 in an interview.
The infant is in St. Vincent Mercy Hospital in fair condition with first-, second-, and third-degree burns on his legs, feet and back.
The Monroe County Sheriff's office, however, said that the burns are consistent with immersion, and the infant's injuries do not match up with Grahl's claims.
The baby's parents also believe that an earlier injury that the infant suffered may also be child abuse. About one month ago the baby received a burn on his arm that the grandmother claimed occurred when she accidentally dropped a curling iron on him.
The baby's father, Robert Grodi Jr., was shocked by the experience of seeing his child in the intensive care unit.
"They pulled off his bandage and they peeled off his whole leg in one piece," he told WUPW-36. "I couldn't quit crying. This has destroyed our lives."
Grodi cannot understand how a relative could harm the toddler.
"Three days ago he was a normal child. I went to work and by lunch he was in a burn unit," Grodi said. "I'm doing everything I can to stay strong for him. To tell you the truth all I want to know is why. Why my baby."