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Leader of Manchester ministry charged with abusing child

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MANCHESTER — The leader of a home-based ministry in Manchester has been charged with abusing the baby son of two of his followers.

Robert Nichols was charged Friday with first-degree assault, intentional cruelty, and injury to children. He posted $150,000 bail and is scheduled in court Sept. 5.

In an arrest warrant released Tuesday, a witness told investigators that Nichols, leader of Manchester-based Word of Faith Ministries, labeled the boy “rebellious,” struck his head on the floor repeatedly, placed him in ice water and sprayed water in his face.

Police were alerted in October 2013 after a doctor determined that the then 1-year-old boy had life-threatening head injuries.

Nichols’ attorney said his client is innocent and questioned why it took so long for the witness to come forward.

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