Cody Moose wasn’t the only grown man a 14-year-old Columbus girl lured to her mother’s apartment with the promise of sex, a detective testified Monday during the ex-soldier’s sentencing for statutory rape.
After the mother caught Moose copulating with her daughter around 3 a.m. May 30, 2016, police confiscated the teen’s cell phone, and discovered she had been flirting not only with Moose, who was 34 at the time, but with a 48-year-old man from Enterprise, Ala.
“A number of these communications were explicitly sexual in nature,” prosecutor Kimberly Schwartz wrote in a court motion, adding the messages outlined a plan for the Alabama man to come to Columbus, pick the girl up and take her back across the state border.
When the guy got to Columbus and rented a motel room, police posing online as the teenager started exchanging messages with him. They learned he’d driven to the girl’s apartment and waited outside before going back to the motel. He returned to the apartment around 10 a.m. on June 8, 2016, and police arrested him on two counts of attempting to commit the felonies of child molestation and enticing a child for indecent purposes.
Checking the Alabamian’s phone, investigators found an image of the girl with her breasts bared, a screen-shot the man said he took during a video chat with the teen as she changed clothes.
The man told police the girl assured him she was 19 years old.
Moose said she told him she was 18.
His attorney, Jennifer Curry, said Monday that her client obviously was deceived, having honestly believed he’d arranged online to meet an grownup who answered an ad he’d posted to an adults-only section of the website Craigslist.
Moose sent her a nude photo of himself from the neck down, with an erection, clearly showing his last name tattooed across his abdomen in letters about 2 inches tall, Schwartz said.
The morning the girl’s mother came downstairs and caught him on the couch with her daughter, Moose grabbed his clothes and ran, but he soon was identified through his online communications.
He faced up to 20 years in prison, but after Hogan testified Monday and military officers vouched for Moose’s character, Judge Maureen Gottfried sentenced him to serve one year in jail and 12 years on probation, with the chance later to apply to have that probation terminated.
Curry said Moose’s mistake already has cost him dearly: It ended his Army career and wrecked his marriage. He’s currently estranged from his wife and children, and is living with his parents, she said.