A LeRoy man has begun a four-year prison term for covering a 4-year-old East Peoria girl with “severe” bruises from head to foot as he baby sat her.

Brian Umstattd, 29, was sentenced to one year short of the maximum term available when he pleaded guilty to aggravated battery to a child under 13 on Jan. 30, only six weeks after he was charged.

Umstattd told police he “bopped” the child on the side of her face, then laid her over his knee and struck her because he “couldn’t handle” her loud behavior.

A detective, however, found “severe bruising” to the girl’s head, face, neck, shoulder, arms, hands, side, buttocks, legs, ankles and feet at the hospital where her mother took her after Umstattd’s assault on Dec. 13, according to a prosecutor’s court affidavit.

The mother said she left her child with Umstattd, her boyfriend who had been living with her for six weeks, when she went to work that afternoon. Two hours later, after Umstattd called her and said he had hit the girl, she rushed home to find he had packed his possessions and was leaving, the affidavit stated.

The detective made contact with Umstattd three days later and arrested him after hearing his version of the assault.

Umstattd’s prior criminal record consisted of a misdemeanor marijuana possession case in 2007, according to court records.

Follow Michael Smothers at Twitter.com/msmotherspekin