Woman faces torture, sexual abuse charges

Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer announced today that multiple felony charges of child endangerment, aggravated indecent assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, and related crimes, have been brought against Anais Munoz, 19, of Chester. The four minor victims range in age from 7 to 13. It is alleged that the abuse occurred over a two-year period beginning in 2020, the year that the defendant came to reside with the family of the victims.

Anais Munoz

“This is a truly horrifying case involving the physical and mental torture of young victims. Using a wide range of implements, the defendant sought to inflict physical pain on these children – whether by choking them with cords, beating them with a bat, or “branding” them with a straightening iron. Using these implements of torture, the defendant sought to control her young victims – both to keep them from revealing her heinous conduct and to get their cooperation in providing her with sexual pleasure. Furthermore, she used these children to assist her in acquiring drugs on the streets of Chester. These children will bear the physical and emotional scars of the defendant’s conduct for the rest of their lives. Sadly, we can’t undo this tragedy, but rest assured that we will do everything in our power to support these victims and to hold the defendant accountable,” said Stollsteimer.

Officer Jennifer Jones of the Chester Police Department received a report of child abuse at a residence on W. 8th Street in Chester. On Jan. 5, 2023, a forensic interview was conducted with the victims at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Media. A physical examination was conducted by Dr. June Elcock-Messam, a board-certified child abuse pediatrician in Wallingford, Delaware County. During the CAC interview, the victims described a pattern of conduct that began at the end of 2020 and included multiple instances of both physical and sexual abuse.

The children reported that numerous objects were used to inflict abuse, including a lighter, hammer, torch, cords, hangers, computer, blades, knives, etc. A hair straightener was repeatedly used on the two oldest victims, burning their buttocks, thigh and genital areas. In addition to the allegations of physical abuse, there were extensive allegations of sexual abuse in which the two oldest victims were coerced into providing the defendant sexual pleasure. While the majority of the physical abuse is alleged to have been inflicted on the two oldest victims, the younger victims were witnesses to, and able to corroborate, the allegations.

The defendant threatened the victims with additional torture if they told their mother about the abuse. As a result, the children lied to their mother about the source of any injuries that she may have observed. The instances of sexual abuse were alleged to have occurred late at night when the victims’ parents were asleep.

“The discovery of this horrific abuse is the result of the excellent police work of the Chester Police Department, particularly Officer Jennifer Jones and Captain El’lan Morgan. Without their help, the abuse might have continued into 2023. With support from Sergeant Steve Bannar, the leader of the Delaware County Child Abuse and Exploitation Task Force, and Deputy Kristen Kemp, the leader of the Special Victims’ Unit, I am confident that we will be able to muster all the resources necessary for a successful prosecution. However, the law enforcement team is only able to complete its work because of the exceptional support and cooperation we receive from the professionals at the Children’s Advocacy Center, and Dr. June Elcock-Messam. Their dedication to the children of our County is truly extraordinary,” Stollsteimer said.

Due to the nature of the allegations in this case and the collaboration with the Child Abuse and Exploitation Task Force, the matter will be assigned to the Children’s Court, a specialty court created last year to handle cases where children are victims or necessary witnesses of violent crimes or abuse. The court has been designed with a child-friendly waiting area, and the cases are heard on a fixed schedule so that the children are not required to endure inordinate wait times prior to their testimony. Magisterial District Judge Andrew Goldberg presides over the Children’s Court, which is located in the Upper Providence District Court building.

The defendant is currently in custody in New Jersey. It is anticipated that she will be extradited to Delaware County on Wednesday, Jan. 25.

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