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A 39-year-old Gila Valley man was charged with child abuse and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after his step-daughter showed up at school covered with bruises.

According to Graham County Sheriff's Office reports, high school staff members called authorities last month after one of their students arrived at school with bruises all over her legs and arms.

The girl told deputies her step-father had beaten her with a shovel handle for talking back. When questioned, the man admitted it and identified the handle when it was found outside the home and a picture of it was brought to him at the jail, according to the report.

The girl was taken to the hospital to determine if any of her swollen fingers were broken; they were not.

The man is not being identified to protect the girl's privacy.

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