Soldier Pleads Guilty to Rapes, Assaults
Posted November 15, 2007 10:33 a.m. EST
Updated November 15, 2007 7:03 p.m. EST
Fort Bragg, N.C. — A Fort Bragg soldier was sentenced Thursday to 60 years in military prison after pleading guilty to raping two women and assaulting two others.
Spc. Menkaura Moss, 21, of Virginia Beach, Va., will be eligible for parole after 20 years. He also was demoted by three ranks – to the lowest rank in the Army – and was given a dishonorable discharge.
"I've been raised in a life of moral ignorance. I'm completely sorry from the deepest part of my heart," Moss said before he was sentenced. “I stand here today, and hearing about what I did (to the victims) kills me. I admit what I did was wrong. It’s definitely unjust and selfish.”
A mechanic with the 503rd Military Police Brigade, he pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree rape and one count each of sexual assault, sodomy and assault by battery. He also pleaded guilty to three counts each of first-degree burglary and felony larceny and four counts of credit card fraud. A charge of attempted second-degree rape was dismissed as part of a plea agreement.
Three of the attacks happened between Dec. 31 and Feb. 15 at the Southwinds Apartments complex in Spring Lake, where Moss lives.
- One woman told Spring Lake police that a man broke into her apartment on Dec. 31 and slapped and assaulted her.
- A second attack occurred Jan. 28. A woman told police she was sleeping beside her 19-month-old daughter when she was choked and raped by a man in a mask.
- A third woman told police she was sleeping next to her 8-week-old daughter when a man choked and assaulted her on Feb. 15.
Moss also pleaded guilty to assaulting a woman on Feb. 25 at Fort Benning, Ga., where he attended jump school.
Maj. Sara Root, the military prosecutor, called Moss a predator and said he deserved the maximum sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
“If the young babies lying next to their mothers while the accused attacked (the victims) won’t stop him, nothing will,” Root said.
"He does not deserve to walk the streets again," she said. "He's despicable. Nothing will stop him, which is why he should spend the rest of his life in jail."
Samantha Tejeda, who was beaten but not sexually assaulted by Moss, said she was disappointed by the sentence.
"He should spend the rest of his life in prison for raping women," Tejeda said. "I don't care if you murder someone or rape them, it's the same thing."
The woman who was raped while her toddler was in bed with her said her husband, who was serving in Iraq, ended up separating from her because he thought she made the assault up. She said her daughter screamed throughout the ordeal and tried to heal her "boo-boos."
“I just tried to tell her it was going to be OK,” the woman said. “She tried to give me kisses. I just asked him not to hurt my daughter.”
The husband of one of the victims wept Thursday as he described the impact of his wife's rape.
“He took something that was something so intimate and so special,” the man said. “He just took it.”
The larceny and fraud charges are related to the theft of purses from two of the Spring Lake apartments and a debit card from the third victim. Moss used the bank card to pay his taxes online and to purchase a phone card at the Atlanta airport, which is what led investigators to him.
He also admitted to breaking into two homes at Fort Benning and stealing computers, a camera and an iPod.