Young Wrestler Now Fighting A Rape Charge

Posted: February 15, 1986

DOVER, Del. — His coach calls him "a natural" - a state high school wrestling champ who approaches a match with "fire in his eyes," a young man who can ''outfinesse" almost any opponent that he can't overpower.

"He was a little fireplug," said Harry Rigby, who coached Orville Mosley Jr. on and off since the 18-year-old was in first grade. "He was nonstop."

But in Family Court yesterday, Mosley, a 138-pound bundle of power and energy who was the athletic pride of Dover High, faced a different kind of fight, one that could end his wrestling career.

Mosley has been charged with raping a 14-year-old girl Aug. 13. On Jan. 3, he struck an agreement with state prosecutors, pleading guilty in exchange for a guaranteed sentence of no more than one year in a juvenile detention center.

But at the sentencing yesterday, Mosley changed his plea to not guilty. Now that the plea agreement is off, state prosecutors say they may try to move the case from Family to Superior Court, where Mosley could be charged as an adult and face a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years if convicted.

Ironically, Mosley's father, Orville Mosley Sr., also faces trial on separate rape charges in Superior Court.

The elder Mosley is accused of assaulting a 13-year-old girl once last summer and again in the fall, Deputy Attorney General Ferris W. Wharton said.

In Family Court yesterday, the younger Mosley reversed his plea after Judge Roger D. Kelsey asked that his admission specify that force had been used. Mosley's attorney, Thomas Barnett, said that his client had admitted to statutory rape because the victim was under 16 but that the act had been consensual.

Regardless of the outcome, the charges have left Mosley's athletic career in doubt, said Dover High School athletic director Dan Roberts.

"Wrestling is his life," Roberts said, "and that's the thing, hopefully, that would put him in college. I mean, for the kid who doesn't have the MIT IQ, that's an alternative."

Mosley has never separated school and wrestling. His love of the sport started in the first grade, as a 7-year-old on the Kent County Pee Wee wrestling team.

Rigby coached Mosley for three more years, teaching him the pins and holds that overpower and outfox an opponent.

But determination, Rigby said, is something he couldn't teach. And it was a stoic determination that Mosley had from the start, Rigby said.

"I've seen him defeated," Rigby said. "And I've seen fire in his eyes, and I've heard him say, 'Coach, I'll get him next time.' "

Before entering his guilty plea, Mosley, an average student, had received inquiries from East Coast colleges who knew of his reputation as being unbeatable on the mat, Rigby said. Rigby said scholarship offerings had been bound to come next.

Mosley became known in wrestling circles in the region last year after winning the state championship for the 132-pound division and then going on in the summer to win the regional Junior Olympics against the best wrestlers

from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Maryland.

Even though he faced criminal charges, school officials let Mosley compete again this year. He won all 16 of his matches before tearing a cartilage in his knee late last month.

Roberts said he did not take Mosley off the team because he did not know that the charges pending were for such a serious offense. Rigby said that he knew of the charges but that the decision had been up to school administrators. High school principal Patrick Lynn declined to comment.

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