What to Know
- Dimitrios Moscharis, 34, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with attempted homicide, strangulation, aggravated assault, possessing an instrument of crime, endangering the welfare of a child, and false imprisonment.
- Police said Moscharis repeatedly abused his girlfriend's 9-year-old daughter after the child's mother said she needed "discipline."
- The child was found unresponsive Monday morning and taken to the hospital where she remains in critical condition.
A 9-year-old girl is fighting for her life after she was beaten by her mother’s boyfriend causing her injuries that a seasoned detective described as the worst he had ever seen in his career, investigators announced Tuesday.
Dimitrios Moscharis, 34, of West Chester, Pennsylvania, was arrested and charged with attempted homicide, strangulation, aggravated assault, possessing an instrument of crime, endangering the welfare of a child, and false imprisonment.
Early Monday morning, a woman told police that while she was driving for Lyft in Northeast Philadelphia she received a text from her boyfriend, who investigators identified as Moscharis, telling her to return to her home in Westtown Township immediately. Moscharis had been babysitting her 9-year-old daughter at the time, according to investigators.
When the woman arrived, she found the home in disarray, indicating a struggle. She then found her daughter unconscious, wet and fully clothed inside the bathtub. The woman and Moscharis pulled the girl out of the tub, performed CPR and called 911.
When Westtown-East Goshen police arrived, they found the girl unresponsive inside the bathroom. EMS removed her clothes and found bruising all over her body that appeared both old and new.
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The girl was taken to Nemours/A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware, where she was placed in critical condition. Doctors said the girl suffered life-threatening injuries to multiple organs, extensive bruising all over her body, and likely brain damage due to oxygen deprivation for an extended period.
Investigators said the injuries indicated the girl had been strangled and suffocated. They also said the bruising on the child’s body was consistent with objects police found in the bathroom, including a curtain rod and hanger.
The girl’s mother told police she and Moscharis had been dating for about two months. She said she told Moscharis her daughter needed “discipline” after he observed her struggling to control the child. Police said the woman then allowed Moscharis to hit her daughter with a curtain rod or baton whenever the child acted out or didn’t listen.
Police also said Moscharis would force the girl 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. The girl’s mother claimed she would tell Moscharis to stop whenever his actions became “too excessive.”
Before alerting his girlfriend Monday, Moscharis allegedly failed to call 911 for help despite knowing that the child had stopped breathing for at least ten minutes. When his girlfriend arrived and finally called 911, Moscharis told her to lie and tell police that the child’s biological father had injured the girl, investigators said.
“What this child endured is unconscionable. The defendant’s depravity is beyond words and comprehension,” Chester County District Attorney Deby Ryan said. “It is the kind of criminal action that is devastating to our community and parents alike. A seasoned child abuse detective said that the child’s bruising all over her body was the worst he’s ever seen in his career. My office vows to seek full justice for the victim child with maximum punishment for the defendant.”
Moscharis is being held without bail at Chester County Prison. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 30.
Ryan said that while officials have seen less reports of child abuse amid the pandemic, they don’t believe the decrease is due to fewer actual cases but rather because of less oversight.
“The highest number of ChildLine reports overwhelmingly come from our educators on the frontlines protecting our children every day,” she said. “We implore everyone to stay vigilant and check in on our most vulnerable population. They rely on us to keep them safe.”
Anyone with information on the incident should call Chester County Detectives at 610-344-6866 or Westtown-East Goshen Detective Russel Weaverling at 610-692-9600. If you suspect child abuse, contact ChildLine at 800-932-0313.