A man who used a BB gun to discipline his fiancée’s young daughters was ordered to spend two years in jail for injuring the children with the pellets.
Steven Scroger, 29, of Concord, previously pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court to two charges of assaulting and injuring a person under 7 years of age in connection with the abuse, which happened in February at the home Scroger shared with the girls and their mother. Scroger and the children’s mother also have a year-old child together.
Wednesday morning Justice John L. Michalski sentenced Scroger to one year in the Erie County Detention Center for each Class D felony, with the sentences to run consecutively.
Michalski noted that Scroger’s attorney, John Nichols, made an effort to explain, if not excuse, Scroger’s behavior. He said his client had difficulty understanding the implications of his actions when he shot BBs at the girls because he was under the influence of painkillers he was taking for a serious injury he suffered in a work accident last year. Scroger’s leg was crushed between objects in a train yard. Nichols told the court that, since his arrest, Scroger has become more clear-headed.
The judge said, while he appreciated the position of the defense, he could not overlook the ages of the victims – 4 and 6 years old – in deciding that Scroger spend two years in jail. He also had Scroger sign an order of protection requiring that he stay away from the victims for 10 years after his release.
When first reported, the case was shocking to investigators. The children’s father discovered the girls’ injuries when he had them for his custodial time. There were multiple welts on the children and Scroger allegedly had told the girls to say the bumps were bug bites, should anyone ask. The father took the children to Mercy Ambulatory Care Center in Orchard Park to be examined and staff there called authorities.
Scroger has been in custody since his arrest in late February.
Assistant District Attorney Jeremy V. Murray prosecuted the case.