YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Clutching a Bible before court, Mose Fleetion Friday told a Mahoning County judge that he is not the same man who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a passed-out teen two years ago in a Boardman home.
While Judge Anthony D’Apolito said that may be true, the decision he made to engage in that activity is one that can’t be ignored and must be punished.
Judge D’Apolito sentenced Fleetion to seven years in prison.
It was one less year than prosecutors were seeking but far more than Fleetion or his attorney, Walter Madison, were hoping for.
The judge told Fleetion, 29, a combat veteran of the U.S. Army, that confronted with right or wrong that evening, he made the wrong decision and that decision scarred the victim in the case forever.
“This is absolutely about the moral decision you made,” Judge D’Apolito told him. “Every single chance you had to do what was right, you did what was wrong.”
Fleetion and a co-defendant are accused of sexually assaulting the woman after she passed out because she was drinking heavily. Assistant Prosecutor Ralph Rivera said Fleetion had sex with her twice and the co-defendant, Charles Griffin, 30, of Hudson Avenue, had sex with her once.
Fleetion pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery. Griffin was sentenced to seven years earlier this year after pleading guilty to a count of attempted rape.
The incident happened in November 2017 in a home in Boardman. The attack was captured on video.
Fleetion’s lawyer, Walter Madison, had asked for the sentencing to be continued so his client could be evaluated by counselors by the Veterans Association for post-traumatic stress disorder and to see if he needs any treatment for other issues.
Judge D’Apolito declined the request but did say he would allow counselors to conduct evaluations at the Mahoning County Jail before Fleetion is sent to prison.
The victim’s mother read a statement from her daughter, who did not attend the hearing.
“I often ask myself how did this happen? I ask myself how do they feel about it now?” the victim wrote.
The victim said the men were monsters and she was glad they are both going to prison.
“While my nightmare ends today, I take great comfort that theirs is just beginning,” she wrote. “And I hope it hurts.”
Fleetion apologized to the victim and her family and asked for mercy. He said he has changed since that night, and said he thinks his actions were a result of his upbringing by his father, who he said abused alcohol and chased women.
He said while he was on house arrest before his sentencing, he managed to complete college and pay his bills.
“I don’t see myself as a monster when I look in the mirror,” Fleetion said.
As he left court in handcuffs, Fleetion told a large contingent of family members “I love you.” One woman gave him a thumbs up and said: “We got your back.”