Judge sends Limerick child rapist to prison for up to 50 years

Bryan Monica
Bryan Monica

NORRISTOWN >> A Limerick man made no statements and bowed his head as a judge sent him to prison for up to five decades on charges he sexually assaulted an underage girl on multiple occasions and later engaged police in a seven-hour standoff after the assaults came to light.

“There are, without question, a number of aggravating factors involved in this offense,” Montgomery County Judge Thomas C. Branca said Wednesday as he sentenced Bryan M. Monica to 25 to 50 years in state prison in connection with incidents that occurred between 2013 and 2017 in Limerick, Upper Providence and Philadelphia.

Those aggravating factors, the judge said, included the “tender age of the victim” and the “prolonged abuse.” The assaults occurred while the girl was between 9 and 13 years old and in Monica’s company at various times during the four-year period.

“You have imposed a lifetime, a lifetime of trauma on (the victim). She will live with this the rest of her life,” Branca sternly addressed Monica.

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Monica, 31, who listed former addresses in Limerick and Philadelphia, did not address the judge, the victim or her family before learning his fate. But Monica handed the judge a multi-page handwritten letter, the entire contents of which were not revealed in court.

However, the judge said Monica, in the letter, talked about losing his freedom and about horrible experiences he’s had in jail.

“It is narcissistic beyond belief. It is strictly a letter that talks about yourself. It’s unfathomable to me, the complete lack of remorse of this defendant. Frankly, I don’t know what makes you tick, Mr. Monica,” Branca said.

Branca tacked on an additional 25 years of probation, following parole, meaning Monica faces court supervision for a total of 75 years. Monica also must report his address to state police for a lifetime following his release from prison and will be under sex offender supervision. The judge ordered Monica to have no contact with minors.

During a non-jury trial in March, Branca convicted Monica of charges of rape, attempted rape, statutory sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, indecent assault of a child, corruption of a minor, endangering the welfare of a child, recklessly endangering another person and possessing a firearm without a license in connection with the incidents.

The victim was too emotional to speak in court but Assistant District Attorney Erika Wevodau read the victim’s statement to the judge.

“I don’t trust people anymore. I have flashbacks when I see someone who reminds me of you. I worry you will come after me and hurt me,” the girl wrote, referring to Monica.

Addressing the victim, Branca told the girl, “I hope, young lady, that you can overcome it. You did nothing wrong here. I can’t certainly say the same for Mr. Monica.”

Other witnesses, including the girl’s mother and her high school principal, characterized her as “brave and courageous” in the face of “unimaginable betrayal.” The girl’s mother called Monica “a monster” and “a predator.”

Wevodau sought a minimum sentence of more than 40 years in prison for Monica, arguing he “caused a lifetime of trauma.”

“He has taken her childhood. He has taken her dignity, her privacy, her safety,” Wevodau argued.

Defense lawyer Julia Lucas argued for a sentence that wouldn’t warehouse Monica in prison and said Monica is looking forward to participating in treatment programs.

During the trial, Wevodau alleged Monica, who knew the girl’s family, sexually assaulted the girl on numerous occasions, ‘too many to count,’ when she was in his company.

Monica did not testify at the trial.

The girl, testifying over the course of several hours, recalled multiple assaults that included various sexual acts when Monica was alone with her at various times in various locations in Limerick and Upper Providence townships and Philadelphia over the course of the four-year period. She testified she was “scared, disgusted,” during the assaults.

The investigation began when the victim confided in a friend who advised her to tell a school counselor on Jan. 5, 2017. When the girl reported the incidents to the counselor, authorities were contacted immediately.

The girl implied she didn’t tell anyone about the assaults earlier because she feared Monica would harm someone in her family.

The following day, Jan. 6, after the allegations came to light, Monica drove to the Limerick house where the victim and the girl’s mother lived and parked outside, armed with a .40-caliber semi-automatic handgun, according to court papers filed by Limerick Detective Ernie Morris and now retired Upper Providence Detective Sgt. Raymond Bechtel III.

Officers responded to the scene on Masters Drive but Monica refused to exit the car and displayed the weapon, including threatening to commit suicide by pointing the gun at his chin, chest and head, according to a prosecutors.

“Monica’s actions kept residents and officers at bay for almost seven hours,” Morris and Bechtel alleged in the arrest affidavit.

Police and tactical units from several area departments took up posts on Masters Drive in Limerick. Two SWAT teams surrounded the vehicle, and, after speaking with negotiators, Monica surrendered peacefully.

During the standoff, police asked residents in the neighborhood to shelter in place, while school buses and those trying to return home were directed to a warming place at the Limerick Township Building.

Wevodau argued Monica not only put himself in danger, but also risked the lives of others that lived in the area.