WATERVILLE, Maine — A Lewiston man left to care for his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter while she was out of town is facing a felony charge after the woman returned to Waterville and found the child with multiple bruises, according to police.

Kareem Johnson, 29, who has a lengthy criminal history, according to Waterville Deputy Chief Charles Rumsey, was charged with felony assault. Rumsey said the charge was elevated to a felony due to the age of the child.

Police were dispatched to a residence in the Elm City at 4:30 p.m. Thursday when a domestic dispute was reported, according to Rumsey. He said the suspect is not the father of the toddler.

When the woman came home and discovered bruises on the girl’s upper legs and bottom, that prompted an argument between the two, leading the woman to contact police, according to Rumsey.

Johnson told officers he had been the child’s caretaker during the week, and enough probable cause was determined to place him under arrest, Rumsey said.

The toddler was taken to MaineGeneral Hospital’s Thayer campus to be examined. She was not seriously injured.

Johnson was unable to post $5,000 bail and was transported to the Kennebec County Jail, where he remained Friday afternoon.

Johnson’s criminal history includes convictions out of Lewiston for criminal trespass, disorderly conduct and assault, according to Rumsey. Johnson also has a warrant out of South Carolina for failure to pay child support, but he can be arrested on that charge only in South Carolina, the deputy chief said.

Rumsey praised his department’s swift work in handling the difficult case.

“Just about all of us are parents,” he said. “We’re obviously very concerned when we see children who are injured and abused. Officers conducted themselves with professionalism and integrity.”

If convicted, Johnson could spend up to five years in prison on the assault charge. He is scheduled to make his first court appearance on Feb. 12.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence and would like to talk with an advocate, call 866-834-4357, TRS 800-787-3224. This free, confidential service is available 24/7 and is accessible from anywhere in Maine.

Ryan McLaughlin

BDN sports reporter Ryan McLaughlin grew up in Brewer and is a lifelong fan of the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins. In "The Boston Blitz" he'll be sharing his perspective...