Jurors Find Moss Not Guilty On Rape Charges
By Teresa Ressel
Daily Journal Staff Writer
After deliberating an hour, St. Francois County jurors found Chad Moss not guilty of both his charges.
Moss, 22, of Desloge, had been charged with sexual assault and deviate sexual assault. A woman had claimed he had sex with her after she passed out at a party in April of 2008. As a result of the charges being filed, the North County graduate was suspended from the Mineral Area College baseball team.
The second day of the jury trial began Tuesday morning with testimony from two Desloge police officers. The day continued with testimony from three people who attended the same party as Moss and the woman who made the allegations that he had sex with her while she was passed out.
A woman, who said the alleged victim was her best friend at the time but is no longer her friend, testified they both drank vodka that they brought and got drunk. They were both high school seniors.
The friend said at the party, the woman was flirting with Moss. She said she saw her sit on Moss’ lap and kiss him.
She said at about midnight, she decided to leave with her boyfriend but asked the woman several times if she wanted to go with them. She said the woman wanted to stay and never said anything about feeling sick.
She and her boyfriend both testified that when they left, the woman was in the bedroom with Moss and at least two other people. She said the woman seemed fine.
However, the alleged victim had testified Monday that she began feeling sick and laid down on a futon in a bedroom alone. She said her friends were still at the party and she figured they would get her when they left. She also testified she had not flirted with Moss that night and she did not consent to sex.
The friend said the next morning, the woman called her at about 6:45 a.m. to tell her that she woke up with no clothes on and didn’t know what happened. She said the woman was crying and said she was embarrassed. She said both of them were friends with Moss’ ex-girlfriend.
The friend said they texted each other back and forth that morning.
Prosecuting Attorney Wendy Wexler Horn asked if the friend sent, "OMG, I told everyone to leave you alone." The friend said she did not recall texting that.
Horn asked the friend why she didn’t put in the police report that the woman had been kissing Moss. The friend responded by saying she wrote they were "flirting."
The friend’s boyfriend testified he only had three beers that night. He said the woman and Moss were "tipsy" but not wasted. He said he saw the woman sitting on Moss’ lap with her arm around him, kissing him.
Another young man who did not drink that night testified he saw the woman and Moss flirting and hanging on each other. He did not see them kissing. He said the two were both impaired by the alcohol but not falling down.
He said when he went to say good-bye to them at midnight they were alone in the room and the woman had one of her legs over Moss’ leg.
"They were drunk — that’s for sure … but not passed out," he said.
He said he doesn’t know what happened after that and Moss and the woman are the only two that know what happened.
He and the other man told jurors that the police did not contact them to ask them what they saw.
Desloge Patrolman Brad Judge was the only full-time officer on duty at the time. He said his police chief called him to let him know a girl would possibly be coming into the police station about an alleged assault. He said the chief knew both parties’ families very well.
Judge took the woman’s statement in front of her mother and sister-in-law. He reviewed text messages between her and her friends and then followed her to the hospital where she was examined. Afterward he contacted Moss and three others that had spent the night at the house.
He said Moss at first said he didn’t remember if he had sex with the woman because he was "too drunk." The officer told Moss he did not believe him. He said Moss changed his story to say the two had consensual sex during which the woman scratched his neck and made loud noises.
Judge said when he and Officer Luke Kozloski told Moss they didn’t believe him, Moss again changed his story. The officers testified they did not see visible scratches on Moss’ neck.
Judge said Moss looked down and then said he went into the bedroom where the woman was asleep or passed out and he began kissing her and she didn’t respond. Judge said Moss said he moved her to the bed where they had sex.
Judge said Moss was then asked to write a statement. He said the statement was different. The statement indicated the sex was consensual.
Judge said he asked Moss why the statement was different and Moss said he was on a full-ride scholarship and had more to lose than the woman. He said Moss said the woman was embarrassed because everyone knew what they had done.
Officer Kozloski said he was in and out of the interview room and didn’t hear everything that was said. He said he did hear Moss ask how it could have been possible to bend the woman over if she was passed out.
Both officers said Moss had several versions of what happened that night. Both said he asked if he could go to prison for having sex with a girl while she was passed out but Kozloski said he didn’t hear Moss specifically say he had sex with the woman while she was unconscious.
Moss’ attorney, Scott Rosenblum criticized the police officers for not challenging the woman’s allegations and for not interviewing everyone that was at the party.
He accused the department of having an agenda and the prosecutor of being "more interested in winning than justice."
He also asked why police didn’t audio-record or videotape Moss’ interview. The officers said they did not have that equipment available at that time.
Rosenblum, of Clayton, told jurors he is not going to apologize for being the first one to challenge the woman and her story. He said the girl was embarrassed and afraid of getting in trouble with her parents.
Rosenblum also posed the question to the seven-woman, five-man jury of why the woman would post on Facebook a week or so later a picture of her and a friend in the bedroom where the alleged rape took place. He indicated the picture was taken not long before the woman’s best friend left.
He reminded jurors that the emergency room doctor admitted he didn’t have specific training in gynecology or in sexual assault exams. He said the doctor couldn’t say whether the woman’s sexual encounter was consensual or not.
Horn said the trial wasn’t about whether or not the woman flirted with or had kissed Moss, it was about whether the woman consented to sex. She said the woman did not consent.
She reminded jurors of the woman’s testimony that she planned to stay the night with her friend in Bonne Terre. The woman testified she did not flirt with Moss. She said she did share a chair with him but she also shared chairs with others. She pointed out that one of the defense’s witnesses never saw them kissing.
Horn said the woman laid down on a futon because she wasn’t feeling well and because she thought she was safe. She said the woman woke up naked in a urine-soaked bed.
Horn said the woman’s bruise and tear to her vaginal area is consistent with injuries a woman could sustain if passed out.
She said the woman has no reason to make up the story. She asked why the woman would tell her mom at all if she was just embarrassed.
She said the woman’s story, despite being on the stand more than an hour, did not flip flop. She said Moss’ story to police officers changed several times and in one of those stories, he confessed.
"What he did is horrible, wrong and in the state of Missouri, a crime," she said.