KEY POINTS

  • Julianne Lewis allowed her boyfriend to punish her child in the pretext of disciplining her
  • The victim was made to walk up and down the stairs with her arms stretched out for hours
  • The child was also made to sleep on the concrete floor in the basement

A Pennsylvania mother and her boyfriend have been charged for child abuse and neglect of a 9-year-old girl, who was found unconscious after being tortured and locked up in a closet.

The officials found the critically injured girl unresponsive on the bathroom floor when they responded to an emergency call on Nov. 23. The child, who suffered multiple injuries and had extensive bruising all over her body, is currently in critical condition at Nemours/A.I. DuPont Hospital in Wilmington, Delaware, according to a release by Chester County District Attorney's Office.

Julianne Lewis, 31, and her boyfriend Dimitrios Moscharis, 34, have been charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault and false imprisonment for the abuse and torture of Lewis' daughter. Moscharis has also been charged with attempted murder.

On Nov. 22, the couple reportedly locked the girl in the closet, where she stayed for more than 15 hours. The girl had clothes dumped on her and had no access to food and water while she was forced into a closet measuring 2 feet by 3 feet.

Lewis did not check on her daughter or attempt to rescue her, according to the police. Instead, she went to work.

When Lewis returned home, the couple went out together to buy marijuana. They got high and fell asleep that night while the child remained in the closet.

Lewis told the police that Moscharis had called her at work the following day, saying that the child had been unresponsive. She returned home and found her house in disarray, indicating a struggle. She also found her daughter unconscious, wet and fully clothed in the bathroom. She claimed that both of them had tried to pull the girl from the bathroom and performed CPR on her after calling called 911.

However, the police later found that the couple had only made the call after 45 minutes despite knowing the child had breathing difficulties. Moscharis even asked Lewis to tell the police that it was the child's biological father who had injured her.

The child sustained life-threatening injuries from the assault, including injuries to her lungs. The medical examination indicated that she had likely suffered brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. The tests indicated the possibility of strangulation or suffocation.

The injuries on her spinal cord indicated the possible confinement and the assault she had faced during or after falling unconscious. The doctors also reported that the bruises on her body showed that she had been assaulted with objects found near the bathroom, including a curtain rod and clothes hanger.

closet The girl suffered injuries to her lungs and brain damage due to oxygen deprivation. Photo: pixabay

The investigation found that Lewis, who had been dating Moscharis for about two months, had allowed him to torture her daughter in the pretext of disciplining her. The girl was punished by Moscharis over minor complaints like when she failed to brush her teeth or missed her homework. Lewis did not attempt to help the girl even when she was assaulted in her presence.

The child faced punishments that included beating with a curtain rod or a baton used to open and close window blinds. They also forced the child to walk up and down the stairs with her arms stretched out for hours. The girl was also punished by the couple by locking her in the closet for extended periods. She was punished to kneel on a pile of hangers and was made to sleep on a concrete floor in the basement on numerous occasions.

Lewis was arrested on Nov.27, four days after Moscharis' arrest. They were both remanded to Chester County Prison without bail.

"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." Deb Ryan, Chester County District Attorney said.