This story was corrected at 7 p.m. on March 11, 2014. An explanation follows the story.
A Silver Spring man pleaded guilty March 5 to abusing a toddler and sexually abusing the child’s brother and sisters.
Adderli Jose Cruz-Rosario, 21, appeared in Montgomery County Circuit Court with his hair slicked back and his face unshaved. Through an interpreter, Cruz-Rosario responded “yes” when asked by Judge Cheryl A. McCally if he entered the plea because he thought he was guilty of the crimes.
Those crimes, according to court testimony and court records, happened while he lived with the children and their mother in Silver Spring and in Gaithersburg. What he pleaded guilty to includes throwing a 19-month-old girl against a wall, punching the child and pinning the child’s arm down with weights because she was supposed to be sleeping.
Prior to Cruz-Rosario’s arrest, the girl was examined at Children’s National Medical Center, where a doctor found rib fractures and what appeared to be bite marks on the child’s face.
She was diagnosed as a “battered child” with “failure to thrive,” according to court testimony.
Child abuse-related charges were filed in April 2012, shortly after Cruz-Rosario was arrested.
His plea also included charges of sexually abusing the girl’s older sisters — sometimes as the rest of the family slept — and molesting their brother.
Details of the sexual abuse were outlined in criminal charges filed in June 2012.
The older sisters — who were 7, 8 and 11 at the time of the abuse — described being forced to have sex with Cruz-Rosario. Their brother, who was 10, described being molested and being forced to watch adult videos, according to records filed in District Court.
Cruz-Rosario was eventually charged with a total of 55 criminal counts.
In court last week, he pleaded guilty to five criminal counts — one count of child abuse and four counts of sexual abuse. Each count carries a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison, which means Cruz-Rosario could face a 125-year sentence.
But Jessica Hall, a prosecutor with the state’s attorney’s office, is asking for a 29- to 57-year sentence, what Maryland sentencing guidelines call for.
Ramon Korionoff, a spokesman for the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office, said the plea agreement spares the child victims from having to relive the abuse.
“It’s important to hold the defendant accountable, but at the same time, it’s necessary for the children’s safety and well-being to reach an agreement, so that they don’t have to testify in court,” Korionoff said shortly after the court proceedings.
Cruz-Rosario’s attorney, Theresa Cheronsky of the public defender’s office, could ask for a lesser sentence.
Sentencing is scheduled for May 9.
An earlier version of this story misspelled Judge Cheryl A. McCally’s name.