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Baby-sitter arraigned on bathtub scalding of toddlers

Charles Collins-Robinson (left) was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty.

Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe

Charles Collins-Robinson (left) was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty.

LYNN — In an apartment bathtub where two toddlers suffered severe burns last week, a detective noted the amount of force required to initially turn the water knob. Once water began pouring from the spigot, however, the knob loosened, and the temperature could be dialed all the way up to 131 degrees.

A residential unit should never have water that hot, an investigator said.

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Charles Collins-Robinson, 21, was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail Wednesday after pleading not guilty at his arraignment on charges he endangered two young boys he was baby-sitting last week. The toddlers, 2 and 3 years old, were severely burned by scalding water in a bathtub last Wednesday, officials said. Collins-Robinson stared downward and cried, shaking his head, throughout his arraignment.

He told police he believed that one of the boys had turned the water knob.

Prosecutors said Collins-Robinson had placed the two boys in the bathtub last Wednesday, then sat down outside the bathroom and fell asleep as the water temperature climbed. He initially claimed he had gone to his apartment across the hall to use the bathroom, but later said that was untrue, a police report said. Collins-Robinson’s father said his son made up the story because he was scared.

“He put them in the bathtub, he let the water run, and he left them alone — to essentially go take a nap,” prosecutor Aimee Conway said Wednesday. “And as a result of that, these children have suffered severe injuries.”

Collins-Robinson had been previously released on his own recognizance on charges of operating a vehicle under the influence, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, and possession of a Class A drug. Conway asked the judge for his previously posted bail to be revoked, a request that was denied.

Two-year-old Landon Young suffered burns over 30 percent of his body and 3-year-old Leland Young suffered burns over 60 percent of his body, according to a police report filed in court. The 3-year-old was left in critical condition. Both boys required surgery for second-degree burns, from which they will take months to recover.

“The battle is just beginning for them,” Conway said.

The two boys were rushed from their Essex Street home to Lynn English High School where a medical helicopter transported them to Massachusetts General Hospital. They were later transported to Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston.

Collins-Robinson, who was staying at his father’s apartment next door, was babysitting the boys when the incident occurred.

“This was a horrible, horrible mistake,” Collins-Robinson’s court-appointed attorney, Lance Sobelman, said in Judge James Wexler’s courtroom.

Collins-Robinson’s father, Charles Collins, said before the hearing that his son was so distraught that he was suicidal. He said his son had “told me the truth. He said, ‘Daddy, I’m just exhausted.’ ”

“People don’t get locked up for accidents,” Collins said. “That was an accident. It could happen to anybody.”

Collins, a Vietnam veteran, plans to bail his son out of jail upon receiving a disability check Tuesday.

Collins said the burns could have been avoided if the building’s water was kept at a temperature abiding by state law.

The police report said that investigators had found that the hot water in the bathroom reached 131 degrees after one minute. Arriving investigators said water in a residential unit should never exceed 112 degrees, Conway said at the arraignment.

Faiz Siddiqui can be reached at faiz.siddiqui@globe.com.
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