NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. (WFLA) — A detention deputy with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office is accused in a disturbing case of child abuse in which he allegedly put liquid hand soap in a 7-year-old girl’s mouth and choked her while hitting her in the face.
Ryan Robert Ferguson, 29, was arrested and charged with child abuse on March 17.
According to an arrest affidavit, the girl told investigators that Ferguson put liquid hand soap in her mouth because she lied about something. He then threw her onto the couch and slapped her on the bottom repeatedly.
After that, the girl said Ferguson pulled her off the couch, dropped her on her back to the tile floor and began hitting her on both sides of the face with an open and closed hand. She said Ferguson choked her as he held her down by her neck, making it difficult for her to breathe as he hit her.
Detectives say the girl’s face, neck, forehead and lower back were red the next day. A doctor found that the girl had bruises under her eyes, which were consistent with being choked. She also had bruising on her forehead, which was consistent with being hit with a closed fist.
A 4-year-old sibling reported witnessing Ferguson hit the 7-year-old girl.
Ferguson denied hitting the girl in any other location than her buttocks and said she suffered injuries to her face when a shopping cart fell on her.
The doctor who examined the girl said her injuries were not from a shopping cart and are “without a doubt from a violent and severe beating about the face as well as choking which is exactly as the victim reported it occurred,” the affidavit said.
Ferguson was arrested and booked into the Land O’ Lakes Jail.
He began his employment with the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office in June of 2011.