On March 6, 2018, Simon Moss pleaded guilty to Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. The defendant was originally charged with Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child, a first degree felony, but in exchange for pleading to Life in prison, the State agreed to reduce the charge to Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child, still a first degree felony. The plea was taken in the 221st District Court, by the Honorable Lisa Michalk presiding.
Moss sexually abused a young family member from age 10-12. Sadly, in 2015, the child had previously been sexually abused by another family member at the age of 8 and testified in court against this other family member. Detective Trey Gordy with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office was assigned to investigate Moss’ case. Gordy is assigned to the specialized division – the Special Victims Unit (SVU) – Crimes Against Children division at Conroe’s child advocacy center, Children’s Safe Harbor. Children’s Safe Harbor is a non-profit organization where different agencies involved in the investigation of child sexual abuse/ physical abuse cases, are co-located on one campus.
Delays in making an outcry of sexual abuse are common. The child was 12 before she outcried about the abuse by Moss. The child was interviewed at Children’s Safe Harbor by someone who is professionally trained to interview children. The child stated that one incident occurred when she was picked up early from school by Moss to take the child to the dentist. Gordy was able to locate school records that showed that Moss had signed the child out of school for a doctor appointment on the same day as the dentist appointment. The child also described several sex acts occurring at various locations around Montgomery County, including at an abandoned house. Gordy drove the child around to try and locate the various sites.
After locating the abandoned house, Gordy called out for crime scene Investigator Mark Wright, with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Crime Scene Investigations (CSI), to process the scene for physical and biological evidence. Early the next morning, Gordy was notified by Dep. Fire Marshall, Trey Baxter, with the Montgomery County Fire Marshall’s Office, that the abandoned house had been burned to the ground, but, not before Gordy and Inv. Wright had already processed the house for evidence. Baxter suspected Arson and he and Gordy began a joint investigation to determine if Moss was responsible for the burning of the abandoned house in an effort to destroy evidence relating to the sexual abuse.
Gordy interviewed the defendant who confessed to the sexual abuse and directed Gordy to the various locations where the assaults had occurred, including the abandoned house. The defendant also admitted to burning down the house. Baxter was able to obtain video of the defendant purchasing the gas can used to burn down the abandoned house. Faced with the strength of the evidence, Moss opted to plead rather than going to trial.
Nancy Hebert (Chief Prosecutor): “This outcome is a direct result of the strength of the investigation by Det. Gordy and Dep. Fire Marshall Baxter. As a result, a child who has already had to testify against one perpetrator, did not have to testify. This is the second time in two weeks that a defendant charged with sexual abuse of a child has opted to plead to Life. We can only hope that this means that defendants are getting the message that our office and the citizens of Montgomery County take seriously keeping our children safe from child predators.”