An Ohio couple who locked their four adoptive children in the basement without food, beds or a toilet for 22 hours a day and beat them with a paddle for homework mistakes have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
David and Rejeana Moss pleaded guilty to child endangerment as well as assault, according to the Daily Mail. The couple, 60 and 66, sobbed in court as they heard their sentences on July 11.
The two would keep their four adopted children, two girls who are now teenagers and a pair of boys, now adults, and one of whom is disabled, locked in the basement of their house for 22 hours a day without food or a toilet, only letting them out for a short time each day to go to the bathroom and do homework.
When they made mistakes in their homework, one of the girls said, they would be beaten with a paddle 10 times for each mistake they made. A statement from the older girl revealed she had once been beaten with the paddle 300 times for homework mistakes. Investigators found a blood-stained paddle when they removed the children from the home in 2013.
The Mosses were supposed to be home schooling the children, but the girls said that there was no teaching happening at the house. The dangerous situation lasted years, even after the adopted son who is not disabled left the home in 2009 and reported the couple to authorities.
The man said that after he showed child services a diary in which recorded the abuse he had suffered, officials did not act for four years. The other children remained in the home until 2013, when the two girls, 17 and 14 at the time, tried to escape by stealing a vehicle, but ended up crashing the van into a tree.
The man who had gone to child services stated the physical and mental abuse he suffered at the hands of the Mosses led to anxiety and depression that affected his ability to hold down a job.
The Mosses accepted a plea deal in May, and pleaded guilty to charges of child endangerment and assault. Charges of sexual abuse and kidnapping were dropped, according to the Star Beacon.
"I have never wanted to hurt any child," Rejeana said in court. "I am sorry that these children have been hurt in any way by me. I hope and pray they find peace and full lives as I have tried and failed to do."