Bobby Cutts Jr., the man charged with murdering Jessie Davis and her unborn child, had been accused of abusing his daughter from another relationship, according to court documents obtained by ABC News.
A report filed with a Stark County Family Court in Ohio alleges that Cutts physically and verbally assaulted his daughter, at times "hitting, biting, and throwing objects" at the girl.
The allegations were filed during a bitter custody battle between Cutts and the girl's mother, Cutts' ex-girlfriend Nikki Giavasis. In January 2007, a California doctor, Janice Carter-Lourensz, examined the girl and issued a report citing "reason to suspect child abuse and neglect by Mr. Cutt's [sic]."
In that interview, the 9-year-old daughter said that during extended stays with Cutts she was subjected to "multiple, disturbing events of verbal, emotional and physical abuse."
"He hits me and it hurts, especially when he throws a TV remote or water bottle at [me]. He just laughs and says he's just playing," the girl told her medical examiner.
The report describes Cutts making sexually inappropriate comments to his daughter, though no physical sexual assault is alleged.
In addition to the 9-year-old, Cutts is also the father of Davis's 2-year-old son, Blake, as well as Davis' unborn child. He he has another child with a third woman to whom he is currently married, but the two are believed to be estranged.
The 9-year-old also described an alleged incident in which Cutts spanked Blake, his 2-year-old son by the deceased Jessie Davis. Spanking does not necessarily constitute child abuse under Ohio law.
Blake is now under the care of Jessie Davis' mother, Patricia Porter.
Murder Charge Reverses Cutts' Custody
After the allegations of child abuse were filed, a California judge ruled that the 9-year-old remain in her mother's custody. Shortly after Cutts was charged murdering Davis, an Ohio judge dismissed pending legal action to have the girl transferred to his care.
In 2006, months before the January 2007 report of alleged abuse, Family Court Judge David Stucki had granted primary custody of the girl to Cutts. As justification, the court cited her mother's frequent career-driven relocations and the relative stability of Cutts' home and extended family in Ohio.
Jason Reese, Cutts' attorney during the custody proceedings, declined to comment when approached by ABC News. In court documents Cutts referred to some of the abuse allegations as "ludicrous."
Legal experts told ABC News that allegations of abuse regularly surface in bitter child custody cases, but that not all of them prove true.
"There is rarely substantiated proof," said Joseph P. MaCafferty, a family law expert in Cleveland.
But the doctor who examined the young girl told ABC News she firmly believes that the allegations of abuse are legitimate -- not, as Cutts has suggested, the result of a manipulative and embittered ex-girlfriend.
"I can tell when there is manipulation," said Carter-Lourensz. "[The girl] spoke consistently and in her own voice throughout the interview."
In a television interview on "Good Morning America" last week, Giavasis did not detail the allegations of child abuse against her former boyfriend. But she did describe incidents in which Cutts was physically abusive toward her, saying he slammed her against a wall, sending her to the hospital.
"I was frightened. Many times he would exert control physically," Giavasis said of Cutts. "There's definitely a darker side to him. He doesn't think there are consequences to his actions," she said
In 2005, Giavasis sought a civil protection order against Cutts, restricting his access to her and her two children.
It is unclear what impact, if any, the allegations of child abuse will have on Bobby Cutts' criminal case. Charged with two counts of murder, Cutts remains in jail on a $5 million bond and will be back in court for a preliminary hearing July 2.
If Cutts is found guilty he faces penalties ranging from jail time to execution.
Emily Unger contributed to this report.