The mother of a 9-year-old girl who allowed her boyfriend of two months to “discipline” her daughter to the point of near-death has also been charged for her role in the abuse, authorities say.
According to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office in Pennsylvania, the mother of the girl, Julianne Lewis, 31, of West Chester, is charged “with multiple counts of Aggravated Assault, Kidnapping a Minor, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, False Imprisonment, Conspiracy, and related charges for her role in the brutal beating, systemic abuse, and neglect of her 9-year old daughter.”
The charges came on November 27, four days after emergency responders were called to Lewis’s home and found the 9-year-old girl unresponsive in the bathroom in the early morning hours of November 23. The girl had been left alone with Lewis’s boyfriend, Demitrios Moscharis, 34, while Lewis worked as a Lyft driver.
Investigators say Moscharis called Lewis to tell her that her daughter wasn’t breathing and to come home right away. He did not call 911. Lewis arrived home 45 minutes later to find her daughter fully clothed and wet in the bathtub. She and Moscharis pulled her out and Lewis called 911, according to an arrest affidavit.
Emergency workers could see the little girl had been severely abused when they removed her clothes to perform life-saving measures. She had old and new bruises all over her body, the Chester County D.A.’s Office reported.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a press release:
It is incomprehensible that a mother would not only engage in this horrific treatment of her child but also fail to intervene to protect her from abuse from a man she just met. She participated in a systemic abuse pattern that violated her duty of care and subjected her to unimaginable acts of cruelty. Her failure to render aid to her child is despicable. We are grateful to the Westtown-East Goshen Regional Police Department and the Chester County Detectives for their tireless efforts in this investigation. We will get justice for this child
In the Last 2 Months Since Lewis Started Dating Moscharis Her Daughter Has Been Beaten, Locked In a Closet For Hours, Made to Kneel on Plastic Hangers & to Sleep on the Concrete Floor in the Basement
Investigators later learned the extent of it. According to the Chester County D.A., when Lewis and Moscharis started dating, he felt like the 9-year-old need “discipline.” Lewis agreed, so, “Whenever the child acted out or didn’t listen over minor complaints, like whether she brushed her teeth or did her homework,” it meant she needed to be disciplined by Moscharis.
Lewis told police her new boyfriend had been “helping discipline her but he took it way too far,” according to the criminal complaint.
Lewis allowed and watched as Moscharis hit her daughter all over her body with a rod used to open and close blinds, forced her to walk up and down the stairs with arms stretched out to the sides for hours at a time, made her kneel for 20 minutes on a pile of plastic hangers, and three times they forced her to sleep on the concrete floor in the basement, according to police.
Lewis also told police Moscharis had aggressively grabbed her daughter by her shoulders and covered her mouth with his hand as he screamed in her face.
“These assaults took place over approximately two weeks in Lewis’s presence, but she did nothing to help her,” according to the Chester County D.A.
On the day before Lewis ended up calling 911 for help for her unconscious and barely breathing daughter, investigators say the couple left the little girl in a small linen closet for 15 hours. According to the Chester County D.A.:
On November 22, 2020, the victim was forced into a two-foot by three-foot closet for more than 15 hours with clothes dumped on her and without access to food, water, or a bathroom. During that time, the defendant went to work, returned home, and then left again with the co-defendant to purchase marijuana. When they returned home, they got high and fell asleep while the child remained in the closet. The defendant made no effort to release her daughter, check on her, or render aid.
The 9-Year-Old May Have Brain Damage if She Survives
The damage done to the little girl at the hands of her mom’s boyfriend as her mother did nothing to protect her, according to doctors, is likely permanent, per the criminal complaint.
According to Lewis’s arrest affidavit, doctors said the child’s brain shows signs of damage due to lack of oxygen which was caused by strangulation or suffocation. The girl also had damage to multiple organs including her lungs. Medical staff said the organ damage was caused by trauma and torture.
She also has a hemorrhaged left eye and “notable injury to the ligaments along her spinal cord,” which are “consistent with the victim child’s imprisonment in a small space and the inappropriate placement/contortion of her body during the assault and/or after the loss of consciousness.”
A police report says that doctors at Nemours/A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children reported the girl was still in critical condition as of November 27. Heavy has asked the D.A.s office for an update on how the girl is doing and is awaiting a reply.
Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a press release about Moscharis’ arrest:
During the pandemic, we have seen a notable decrease in child abuse reports. We do not believe this is a result of fewer child abuse cases but of less oversight. The highest number of ChildLine reports overwhelmingly come from our educators on the frontlines protecting our children every day. We implore everyone to stay vigilant and check in on our most vulnerable population. They rely on us to keep them safe.