It’s the stuff of nightmares, a trusted guardian deliberately and repeatedly violating a small child. Yet that’s exactly what Pennsylvania resident Nicholas C. Kernechel, 27, now stands accused of. As reported by Daily Local News, Kernechel, of East Granville, Pa., is facing charges of aggravated and simple assault (among others) in Montgomery County Court after prosecutors say that he physically abused his girlfriend’s four-year-old son on July 18, even going so far as to say he forcefully pulled out three of the child’s teeth.

“At the time of her arrival (the mother) was hysterical and immediately handed Corporal James Lavin a clear, plastic bag containing three bloody teeth. The bloody teeth were intact, from the tooth through the top of the root,” county Detective Dirk Boughter wrote in the arrest affidavit, according to Daily Local. “(The child) had obvious and severe facial and dental injuries, including an extremely swollen upper lip, a bloody upper gum line and bruises all over his face. (The child) was also missing three upper teeth.”

In addition to the injuries, blood was allegedly found all over the child’s bed, including on his pillow and on the floor and wall nearby. The mother only discovered what had happened the morning after she had left her son in Kernechel’s care for two hours the night before.

Kernechel, whether in direct communication with the police or through his defense attorney, has claimed that the injuries were the result of an accident, though the boy himself, diagnosed with autism, has told the police that Kernechel hit him and took the teeth out. Perhaps unsurprisingly the boy also told the authorities that Kernechel was "not nice."

Children with intellectual disabilities like autism can be especially vulnerable to abuse, with the National Autism Association citing research that found children with these disabilities are four times more likely to encounter sexual abuse than their peers. The estimated prevalence of sexual abuse in general is believed to be one in every six boys, and one in every four girls. These early traumatic incidents have been shown to have lasting effects on the health and well-being of survivors as they mature.

This isn’t the first alleged case of horrendous abuse aimed at a young child with autism to be reported this year. In Baltimore this past July, a 6-year-old boy was placed on life support after he had been allegedly kicked in the head by Aaron Vanmeter’s steeltoed boot. Vanmeter, like Kernechel, had been the boyfriend of the girl’s mother. As of late July, the boy had been taken off life support, though still in critical condition, and it is believed that he has suffered permanent brain injury as a result of the assault, the Inquisitir reported.

Kernechel is set to face formal arraignment on Nov. 25, having chosen to waive a preliminary hearing this past Thursday. He was unable to pay his $100,000 bail, and as of now, he has been sent to county jail to await the trial.