Across the area

Police suspect child abuse

Richmond County sheriff's investigators are looking into the severe beating of a 3-year-old.

Authorities said they began to investigate the case after a nurse alerted them to the child's injuries, which included a fractured skull and lacerated liver, according to a Richmond County Sheriff's Office report.

The boy had been left in someone else's care during recent months while his mother went to work, the report said. But during that time, he was severely beaten in his home in the 1600 block of Goshen Road, according to the report.

When deputies went to Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics on Thursday, they spoke with a nurse who said the child's injuries weren't consistent with an accident.

Along with the fractured skull and lacerated liver, the child had a burned hand, swollen and bruised eyelids, a bruised back and a swollen head, the report said.

Lt. Jimmy Young said that it's still early in the investigation and there are still many unanswered questions but that the nurse was confident some sort of abuse had occurred.

Man charged in February robbery

Deputies have arrested a man in connection with a mid-February robbery, according to the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.

Steadman Lewis Felton, 36, was charged with robbery by intimidation Friday morning, a report said. He is charged in connection with the Feb. 13 robbery of Derst Baking Outlet Store, in which someone entered the business, demanded money and fled on a bicycle.

Lt. Jimmy Young, a sheriff's office investigator, attributed the arrest to "just good, old fashion, hitting-the-street police work."

Investigators located the bicycle, and one lead produced another until Mr. Felton was apprehended, he said.

Students march to raise war awareness

Almost 100 area high school students took to the streets in downtown Aiken on Friday to raise awareness about civil war in Uganda.

South Aiken High School senior David Neira, 17, was inspired by the documentary Invisible Children, which details how Ugandan children are forced into the civil war between the Ugandan government and the Lord's Resistance Army.

The sidewalk march ended with a conference at Cedar Creek Church and a viewing of the documentary.

Students also wrote letters to congressmen, urging their support of peace talks in Uganda.

"We want to start getting people to understand that they have a voice in our government," David said. "We are going to change the world, and we are going to save the lives of children in Uganda."

Visit www.invisiblechildren.com for more information about the civil war and film.

Man solicits sex from officer posing as girl

A 24-year-old New Ellenton man was arrested by state authorities Friday on charges that he solicited sex from an undercover officer posing as a teenage girl online.

Robert James LeBert, of the 800 block of Ann Drive, was charged with criminal solicitation of a minor and attempted criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

According to the South Carolina Attorney General's Office, Mr. LeBert solicited sex from someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl but who was actually an officer with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

Mr. LeBert was arrested when he arrived at a location in Columbia to have sex with the "girl," according to the attorney general's office.

Mr. LeBert is being held at the Lexington County Detention Center.

- From staff reports