Local

Apr 10, 2014 12:54 PM by Rebecca Taylor

Mom's boyfriend accused of abusing twin baby boys

SIERRA VISTA - Twin boys who are three months old are at University of Arizona Medical Center. Officials say their mom's boyfriend physically abused them.

Detectives arrested 21-year-old Steven Michael Rothbauer, a registered sex offender on aggravated assault, endangerment and child abuse charges.

A visit to a pediatrician in Sierra Vista where the couple lives uncovered the alleged mistreatment. Doctors in Tucson confirmed their suspicions and found broken bones, broken ribs and skull fractures.

The 19-year-old mother told investigators she had no idea how her twins were injured so badly. Doctors and authorities do not believe this is a case of fragile bones. After interviewing her boyfriend, they placed him under arrest.

Rothbauer is the talk of Sierra Vista. Randy Miller is his neighbor and doesn't want to believe the allegations. "I don't understand why anyone would do anything like that," says Miller.

Carol Capas with the Cochise County Sheriff's Department says Rothbauer is not the twins' biological father.

The mother recently moved from Minnesota to Sierra Vista to be with Rothbauer.

The couple did not live together but on occasion Rothbauer stayed the night and cared for her newborns. That's what happened on Saturday, April 5, according to Capas.

"She stated when she got home, one of the children was violently ill and would not stop throwing up," says Capas.

A local pediatrician urged the mom to travel to Tucson for extra care and X-rays. Doctors at UAMC found one boy to have broken ribs and a broken arm.

"She indicated it was a twin, so they wanted to see the second baby," Capas said.

Doctors discovered both newborns suffered skull fractures in multiple stages of healing. Some fractures were newer than others.

"When I first met him, he used to pick on me. Throughout middle school," a former classmate of Rothbauer said. "We used to play football he was rough, touchy."

The classmate says Rothbauer bullied him, so news of his arrest was no surprise. When he learned Rothbauer is a sex offender, he was shocked.

Capas says in 2011 Rothbauer was convicted of sexual misconduct with a minor and given probation. His failure to comply landed him in prison for a year.

Why was Rothbauer allowed to care for his girlfriend's twin boys?

Capas says it wasn't spelled out in his court-order, meaning Rothbauer was in compliance.

"A judge actually has to order specific conditions, if a judge does not order: no contact with children, or to stay away from women and children, male/females, then we can't enforce that," says Capas.

Pictures of Rothbauer and the twins are posted on his Facebook page. One photo shows him getting a nursery ready.

He now sits in a Cochise County jail on $150,000 bond.

We reached out to Rothbauer's girlfriend, but have not heard back from her.

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