MANKATO — A Mankato man who left a preschooler with bruises all over her body claims the injuries were mostly accidental, charges say.

Mark Andrew Bearl, 38, was charged with gross misdemeanor malicious punishment of a child Friday in Blue Earth County District Court.

A 4-year-old girl had multiple bruises on her face, chin, chest, stomach and buttocks that she said were caused by Bearl in April.

Bearl admitted he spanked the girl and caused the bruising on her buttocks, according to a court complaint. He told authorities the facial injuries happened when the girl slipped out his arms while he was spanking her and she struck her face against a sink.

On another occasion Bearl said he grabbed the girl’s shirt to stop her from leaving and accidentally struck her chin with his closed fist.

Bearl claimed the bruising on the girl’s torso was from another child hitting her with a plastic baseball bat.

The Free Press