Black Father Who Beat and Burned His 9-Year-Old Son Gets Light Sentence at Boy’s Request

Black Father Who Beat and Burned His 9-Year-Old Son Gets Light Sentence at Boy’s Request

James Moss of Staten Island, N.Y., was missing $20 from his wallet and he accused his 9-year-old son, Christopher, of stealing it. Moss’ idea of justice for his son’s alleged crime was to strip the boy naked, beat him with a spatula, hold his hands over the top of the stove until they burned, punch the kid in the face with his fist and stuff the boy into the unlit oven screaming, “I’m going to burn you alive.”  With the skin peeling from Christopher’s burned hands, Moss then snatched him out of the oven and tossed him, still nude, into the front yard. When the boy was finally allowed back inside his home, he was ordered to sit on the floor “like a dog.”

Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan called the attack one of the most “shocking and sadistic” he’s seen in his entire career, and argued for a seven-year sentence for the man’s crimes. “We made what we believed was a very persuasive sentence recommendation to the court, that significant jail time was appropriate, considering the harm that was inflicted upon this child,” Donovan said.

The judge apparently was swayed by the forgiving boy’s tearful courtroom plea for mercy. “He made a big mistake, but really somewhere in his heart he [is] funny, lovable, caring and a great father,” said Christopher Moss, now 11. “Everybody in my family … is giving him a second chance, will you?”  the boy pleaded. “God will solve everything if you make the right choice,” he said, breaking into tears. “I forgive my dad a lot.”


Judge Robert Collini sentenced the repentant father to just four months of weekends in jail and five years’ probation. He also barred Moss from living with Christopher for at least one year. He can only visit with the boy under supervision.

“My son is a better man than me,” said Moss, 53, who pleaded guilty to attacking Christopher. “I’m very sorry for what I did.”


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