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Chester woman tortured and sexually assaulted four children for two years, authorities say

A Chester woman is accused of torturing and sexually abusing four children for two years.

Police tape.
Police tape.Read moreAlejandro A. Alvarez / Staff Photographer

A Chester woman tortured and sexually abused four children, ages 7 to 13, choking them with cords, beating them with a bat, and burning them with a hair-straightening iron after she moved in with their family two years ago, Delaware County authorities said Tuesday in announcing her arrest on multiple charges.

Anais Munoz, 19, was charged with sexual assault, strangulation, child endangerment, and other crimes in what Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer called “a truly horrifying case.”

Munoz, he said, used a lighter, a hammer, a torch, cords, a hanger, blades, and knives to inflict abuse on the children and burned the two oldest children with a hair-straightening iron on their buttocks, thighs, and genital areas. She threatened the children with further harm if they told their mother about the abuse, so they kept silent, he said.

Police began investigating after receiving a report of child abuse at the family’s home. Physical examinations by a doctor earlier this month revealed the abuse, and the children described a pattern of torture and sexual assault, authorities said.

Munoz, who was arrested last week in New Jersey, was in custody in the Passaic County Jail and was expected to be extradited to Pennsylvania on Wednesday. No attorney was listed for her in court documents.

Munoz moved into the family’s home in February 2020, and began harming the children later that year, according to the affidavit of probable cause for her arrest. In addition to the physical and sexual abuse, the affidavit said, Munoz forced the children to buy drugs for her on the streets of Chester and sometimes forced them to take drugs as well.

The children, terrified of Munoz, lied to their mother about how they got the injuries, the affidavit said. They later told investigators Munoz at times said she was “switching bodies” and being taken over by different personalities, including one she said could talk with God.

In announcing Munoz’s arrest, Stollsteimer said, “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.”