Convicted child abuser seeks time served credit

David Moss

A Dorset Township man convicted in 2016 of abusing foster children physically and psychologically wants jail time he served during the course of his legal proceedings credited toward his prison sentence.

David Moss, 60, along with his wife Rejeana Moss, were sentenced to 10 years in prison in July 2016 on each of their four felony counts of endangering children and one count of attempted felonious assault.

David Moss filed with the Ohio Supreme Court asking for the court to hear an appeal which claims that the trial court erred when it denied credit for jail time he served in the county jail during his legal proceedings.

When a defendant remains in jail for any reason before trial, the period of actual confinement must be credited against the sentence ultimately imposed by statute, the appeal states.

Moss should get 80 days of credit, the appeal states.

“To deny a defendant any and all credit for confinement is a violation of his due process and constitutional rights,” the filing states.

The sentence stemmed from allegations that the Mosses locked and confined four of their adopted children in their rooms “virtually all day, every day,” withholding food, leaving them without beds to sleep on and giving them buckets and a metal container to use as toilets.

Though the Mosses claimed to home-school their children, the kids said they never followed through. Their bedroom windows were reportedly boarded, with curtains stapled to window frames, to keep them from looking outside. One child made notches in a bedpost to keep track of the day of the week.

Discipline in the home was also excessively harsh and physical, according to prosecutors and the children. A paddle later found by investigators at the home bore permanent bloodstains.

The Mosses agree their discipline exceeded acceptable standards, the appeal states, but the question is by how much or how little since there was no trial and no evidence presented at plea or sentencing.

The appeal states there was no evidence of psychological harm to the children and that the Ashtabula County Department of Job and Family Services investigated a number of times and never found any substantiated abuse.

There were also statements from a young person who lived in the home and described it much differently than the prosecution, the appeal states, and from another youth who praised the strict guidelines and chores assigned to him.

The blood on the paddle was the result of a scab from a previous injury being broken when a child was disciplined for engaging in inappropriate sexual behaviors, the appeal states. Windows were covered to keep the children from exposing themselves and the buckets were used to pour water down toilets not to use as toilets themselves, the appeal states.

The prosecutor and media presented a much worse scenario than what was presented by the Mosses and their children, the lawsuit states.

“Unfortunately, the media latched onto this case,” the appeal states. “And because the sole purpose of the media is to sell media, the media painted a picture that would do just that, immediately dubbing the residence ‘house of horrors.’”

County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci said it was Moss’ choice to plead guilty, and in doing so he admitted to committing the offenses.

“He was appropriately sentenced by the trial court,” Iarocci said. “I doubt very much the Supreme Court will accept jurisdiction of his appeal.”