The February of 1958 was the coldest on record, and the northern lights, visible as far south as Florida, appeared as a bright orange glow behind New Castle’s north hill the night that Tony Moses was arrested for disorderly conduct. There is no record of the details of the incident or any subsequent penalty.
In 1961, Tony’s brother, Louis, and three other men were arrested as they tried to break open a safe in the office of Gaylord’s department store in Shenango township. Louis was released on bail and offered a reduced sentence if he would appear as a witness against the others. A week later, two teenage hunters found his body in the basement of a burned-out farmhouse south of Pittsburgh. He had four bullets in his head. The other men—all connected in some way to Youngstown gambling interests—were jailed for the attempted robbery, but not for any other crime.
The following year, Tony and another brother, Sam, rented a building on East Washington street, just down from the court house. They hung a sign above the door that said, “Future Sports Club” and set about turning it into a well-equipped illegal casino, with help from unidentified partners in Youngstown. The police who raided the place that October found gaming tables—for poker, roulette and dice—ticker-tape machines and a fully stocked bar in the lounge room. The case was abandoned when it was discovered that the raid had been conducted without a warrant.
In January, 1977, when Tony was sixty, he was arrested on charges of prostitution and statutory rape. There were two girls, both thirteen years old. They had run away from home—Baltimore, for one, and a house on Franklin avenue, for the other—and met an old man named John Gabriel and a young man named Kevin Giffin, who gave them food and shelter for a few days before putting them to work. On the night the girls met Tony, Gabriel bought them supper at McDonald’s. When they had eaten, he said, “I got a gentleman waiting, and I don’t want to hear nothing about it.” They drove to the south side, where they picked up Tony, then went out to the Holiday Inn on route 422 west of town. Tony got a room and Gabriel left to meet someone. He told them not to have sex before he got back.
Tony and the girls took a shower together. They lay on the bed and talked. Gabriel got back and the girls both had sex with each of the men. Tony gave them $15; Gabriel gave them $10.
A week later, the New Castle girl was picked up by the police, walking the streets alone. They took her home. Her sister went through her suitcase and found a letter that she had written to Kevin Giffin, threatening to tell the police what he had done. Tony was arrested shortly after, along with Giffin and Gabriel, and a city councilman who was eventually released when only one of the girls could identify him.
Tony admitted having sex with the girls but claimed he hadn’t known how young they were. The judge said he had observed the girls as they gave evidence and that it was inconceivable that any grown man could look at them and see anything other than children.
Tony pled guilty to two counts of corrupting the morals of a minor and was given a six to twelve-month sentence in the county jail. He was released after sixty days. His petition for parole noted that he had a job waiting for him at the Adams construction company.
There is no further record of Tony until his death, in 1998, at the age of eighty-two.
Sources: New Castle News (11 February 1958, “Northern Lights Plainly Visible”; 13 November 1961, “Moses Released On Bond; Three Others Apply”; 25 November 1961, “Louis Moses’ Body Found With Four Bullets In Head”; 9 December 1961, “13 Scheduled For Trial Here In County Court”; 16 December 1961, “Safe Attempt Gets Ohio Men 7-15 Years”; 12 October 1962, “Federal Officials Called Into Probe Of Gambling Den”; 26 March 1963, “Gambling Charge Presents Problem”; 22 January 1977, “Three Face Sex-Related Charges”; 26 January 1977, “Sex Case Leads To City Official”; 11 February 1977, “13-year-old Pegs Suspect In Sex Case”; 8 June 1977, “Three Men Sentenced In Prostitution Affair”; 15 February, “Girl Waivers In Identifying Sex Suspect”; 29 July 1977, “Judge Rejects Giffin Petition To Revise Plea”; 2 September 1977, “Sex Case Defendant Paroled”); Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 27 November 1961, “District ‘Gangland’ Killing Probed”.
Diamnid, as usual, you’ve given us a wonderfully woven story. Your Source material was significant, and I love how you took all the pieces to give the feel of the day. I enjoy knowing about the history of our beloved little New Castle–and to get some perspective on how some things stay the same, and how our mores change over time. When the stories are about events that happened ‘way back when’…before I was born…it feels like I’m reading some ancient history. However, the 13 year old girls in this story were two years younger than me in 1977. The charge of ‘corrupting the morals of a minor’ sounds so tidy–kind of like letting a 13 year old have a sip of your beer or coffee. Today, that charge would be at least aggravated indecent assult. Sadly, the 60-days served would be about the same real-time served today. So, while there is no ‘new crime’, at least we’re more aware today than we were in 1958 or 1977. So, that’s progress.
Really? You reckon he’d still only have to serve 60 days or so? Wow. Unbelievable.
Well that’s my family for ya
We’ve all got one or two of these guys somewhere up our family trees…
Now the Moses’s and Gabriel’s run the school boards and city office’s, by luck I suppose