Charlotte Marie Sanchez appeared in Missoula Justice Court on Thursday to face three felony counts of assault on a minor, namely her three children.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Shaun Donovan said that he was called to assist Missoula Police Detective Katie Peterson with a case involving three children who had been abused by their mother.

"Many times these cases are handled in civil court, but in this case that criminal charges might be in order," Donovan said. "These kids were interviewed at First Step, and disclosed a disturbing long-time pattern of being assaulted by their mother, and based on that information, I felt there was sufficient grounds to charge her with assault on a minor, which is a five-year felony. Ms. Sanchez was arrested Wednesday night, and appeared in justice court on Thursday afternoon."

Donovan said the suspected abuse went on for about six months before authorities were made aware of the situation.

"The kids said that they were punched and slapped and thrown into a shower, and one of them said she was poked in the head with a sharp object, and one of the kids is also developmentally disabled. They also complained of being hit with their mother's belt until marks were showing. The object of the criminal prosecution is to not only to hold the person accountable, but to bring the abuse to an end, as well."

Sanchez appeared via video from the Missoula Detention Center and was placed back in jail on $25,000 bond.

The children, two girls and a boy, ages 13, 12 and 10, were placed with Missoula Child and Family Services.

Deputy Missoula County Attorney Shaun Donovan