A 31-year-old mother from Pennsylvania faces child abuse charges related to the brutal beating of her 9-year-old daughter, authorities said.
Julianne Lewis knew about and took part in the beating of her daughter at their Westtown Township home, according to the Chester County District Attorney’s Office.
Doctors say the girl suffered severe brain damage, according to prosecutors.
Lewis’ 34-year-old boyfriend, Dimitrios Moscharis, was arrested earlier. He’s facing attempted homicide charges in the beating that left the girl unconscious, according to the Chester County D.A. and earlier news reports.
Moscharis was being held without bail at Chester County prison.
“Doctors at duPont have recently described that the actions taken in this case amount to child torture,” Chester County District Attorney Deb Ryan said.
Police have said that Lewis called 9-1-1 after returning home from driving for Lyft after receiving a text message from Moscharis telling her to come home immediately.
When she got home, Lewis reportedly found her daughter unresponsive, wet, and fully clothed in the bathtub. With the help of Moscharis, they pulled the child from the bathtub to perform CPR, according to authorities.
First responders arrived to find the child still unresponsive and when EMS removed her clothes to perform life-saving measures, they found extensive bruising all over her body that appeared to be old and new, authorities said.
The girl was taken to Nemours/A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware. The young girl was listed in critical condition and had been placed on a ventilator.
“Extensive bruising throughout her body from head to toe, and likely brain damage due to oxygen deprivation for an extended period of time,” Ryan said.
The bruising on the child’s body was consistent with objects police found near the bathroom, including a curtain rod, hanger and other implements.
Lewis later told police she had been dating Moscharis for two months and when he saw her struggling to control her daughter, she says he told her the child needed to be disciplined.
After that incident, whenever the child “acted out” or “didn’t listen,” Lewis let Moscharis hit her with a curtain rod or baton normally used to open and close window blinds, according to the DA’s office. Lewis claimed that if the discipline became too harsh she would tell Moscharis to stop, authorities said.
Police say Moscharis also would “force the child to walk up and down the stairs with her arms outstretched for hours at a time and lock her in the closet for extended periods.”
Authorities say Moscharis urged Lewis to lie to police and say that the girl’s biological father was responsible.
“The brutality that the defendant inflicted on this child is unconscionable,” Ryan said.
Anyone with information on this case is urged to call Chester County Detectives.
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