[UPDATED:] Mario Alberto Colin Joins Girlfriend Cheryl Ann Stuart in Being Booked on Child Cruelty Charges, Much to the Surprise of His Wife

UPDATE: Orange County District Attorney statement on the charges against Colin and Stuart say that he texted her instructions on how to tie down and withhold food and water from children (see end of post) . . .

A man who works with troubled children and is pursuing his masters in teaching at Cal State Fullerton was booked today on suspicion of child cruelty–two days after his girlfriend was arrested on the same charge involving her 2 1/2- and 5-year-old sons.

And now for the kicker: the wife of the married father of a 4-year-old boy and baby daughter did not know about the girlfriend until Santa Ana Police detectives came by for questioning today.

Mario Alberto Colin, 31, and Cheryl Ann Stuart, 25, were expected to be charged later today and make their first court appearance Monday.

He is not the father of her boys.

She was originally arrested Wednesday on suspicion of willful cruelty
to a child and inflicting injury upon a child due to accusations that she beat, starved and tied up
her two young sons so she could
get a good night's sleep.

Officers went to her apartment after her landlord called police to report her little boys were rarely seen and, when they were, they had bruises.

Cops discovered the younger boy had severe bruising to his forehead and cheek, and his
lips were so dry they had cracked and bled, while his older brother had swollen arms and was extremely dehydrated. Both had bruises and knots on their heads, police say.

“She tied the kids to their beds using bandages, shoelaces or chains to
keep them from taking off while she slept,” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a police spokesman, says in an Associated Press report (via KCBS). “She didn't
feed the boys, especially the 2-year-old, because she was potty-training
him” and was tired of changing his soiled sheets.

Paramedics took the boys to a hospital to be treated for dehydration,
malnutrition and injuries. They are expected to

According to the report, Stuart told police she met Colin in February and he gave her advice on
how to discipline her children. That is when police believe the abuse began.

Colin worked the past four months as a behavioral technician at a
Pico Rivera elementary school where he deals with kids who have temper tantrums and behavioral issues, said Bertagna, who added police will now investigate to see if any students were abused.

Not to mention Colin's own kids.

UPDATE: Orange County District Attorney's Office statement follows:
June 25, 2010


SANTA ANA – A mother and her boyfriend were charged today with child
abuse against two boys, ages 2 and 5 years old, who were continuously
deprived of food and tied by their ankles to a bed.  Cheryl Ann Stuart,
25, and Mario Alberto Colin, 31, both of Santa Ana, are each charged
with two felony counts of child abuse and two felony counts of corporal
injury on a child. If convicted, both defendants face a maximum sentence
of seven years and four months in state prison. The People will be
requesting $250,000 bail for each defendant. Stuart and Colin are
expected to be arraigned Monday, June 28, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. in
Department CJ-1, Central Jail, Santa Ana.

On June 23, 2010, officers from the Santa Ana Police Department were
called to a residence for a child welfare check. Responding police
officers found two children who had ligature marks around their ankles
and appeared malnourished and emaciated. Subsequent investigation
revealed the following:

Stuart is accused of renting a room in a Santa Ana home and sharing the
room with her two sons, 2-year-old John Doe #1 and 5-year-old John Doe
#2. Colin is accused of having a romantic relationship with Stuart.

Stuart is accused of withholding food and starving her two sons,
primarily John Doe #1, as he was potty training and she was angry that
he soiled his clothes and bed. She is accused of tying the victims to
their bed and crib by their ankles to prevent them from moving around
the room.

Colin is accused of exchanging dozens of text messages with Stuart and
instructing her to tie down the victims and withhold food and water.
Colin worked as a behavioral technician with the El Rancho School
District. He was assigned to Durfee Elementary School in Pico Rivera to
work with children with behavioral issues.

Both victims were hospitalized and are now in protective custody.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with additional information is
encouraged to contact the Santa Ana Police Department at (714) 245-8400
or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Jamie Joyce at (714)

Deputy District Attorney
Kathleen Roberts of the Family Protection Unit
is prosecuting this case.

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