Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah

May 24, 2023
Tooele man arrested for child abuse

Kelsey Tanner, 30, was arrested earlier this month after allegedly pouring scalding hot water on a one-year-old child in April. Later, Tanner was also caught with child pornography on his cellphone.

Tanner was arrested on May 4 and booked into the Tooele County Jail on a first-degree felony charge of child abuse related to the hot water incident after being interviewed by Tooele City police.

On May 11, Tanner was also charged with 12 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony, and one count of forcible sexual abuse, also a second-degree felony, after investigators found photos of a female toddler’s gentalia on his phone.

Tooele City Police officers were contacted on May 1 by the Safe and Healthy Families, a program through Primary Children’s Hospital that provides medical and mental health services to suspected victims of child abuse and their families. The program also conducts medical exams on children who have suffered alleged abuse or neglect and alerts law enforcement when needed.

Program workers told officers that they had seen a 23-month-old female with second degree burns to her genital area and inner thigh sparing the knees and feet, according to a probable cause statement written by an arresting officer.

They told police that based on the story they received from the mother and stepfather of the child and the examination of the injuries; the story was not consistent with the burn injuries on the child.

When police spoke with Tanner, he stated that he was the only adult in the home with his and fiancé’s kids and while his fiancé was at work, he wanted to help her out and bathe his 23-month-old stepdaughter.

He told police that he filled the tub up about an inch deep and tested the water to feel the temperature which was “luke warm.”

He said that while bathing the child, he realized that he had no towel by the bathtub and needed to grab one from a cabinet a few steps away inside the same bathroom, according to the police statement.

Tanner stated that before turning away from the child, he left the child standing in front of the running water. He explained that the bathtub has a shower head instead of a regular faucet and when he turned away from the child to grab a towel, he heard the child scream as if something was wrong.

He told police that he looked back and the child fell on her bottom and tried getting out of the bath.

Tanner said that he then rushed back to her and upon touching the water, he realized it was steaming hot and pulled her out.

He told police that he then contacted the mother of the child and rushed her to the hospital.

Police tested the water temperature on the bathtub, which came out to be around 135 degrees. The water heater in the home was set to 120 degrees, according to the statement.

After viewing the photos of the burn pattern and the sharp line of demarcation around the genital area and inner thighs of the child, police agreed with Safe and Healthy Family staff that the way Tanner explained the events wasn’t consistent with what really happened.

Police believe the child had scalding water primarily poured over her genital area.

The child victim had to undergo skin graft surgery.

On May 4, police met with Tanner at the Tooele City Police Department and he told them he didn’t want to talk further about the incident.

On May 10, police were advised of 12 explicit, naked photos of a female toddler. After tracking the photos, all of them came back from Tanner’s residence, according to a probable cause statement written by a Tooele City officer.

Police found that the 12 photos were taken on April 30 during the time Tanner was a caregiver of the 23-month-old, approximately three and a half hours before the toddler was burned with the hot water.

Tanner is being held at the Tooele County Detention Center without bail.


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