Illustrations by Richard Watkins / AJC

How a small town brought doctor to justice

Police in Ohio town used secret recording, DNA to arrest doctor

Video: Winning 'detective lottery' in a small town

WILMINGTON, OHIO — Josh Riley wasn’t sure how much he could do when a woman reported that a local doctor had exposed himself and asked for oral sex during an appointment.

Riley, one of four detectives on the police force, knew the woman and believed she was telling the truth. But he also knew he needed more than her word to bring criminal charges against Dr. Daniel Moshos.

What he needed, he knew, was some evidence and some luck.

As it turned out, he got both.

Ryon Horne / AJC

Detective Josh Riley of the Wilmington, Ohio, Police Department worked the case of patients who accused Dr. Daniel Moshos of sexual misconduct.

Defying the obstacles that authorities often face in charging physicians with sexual misconduct, Riley and his cohorts built a case that resulted in Moshos’ conviction on three felony counts and sent him to prison for three years.

Because such cases often hinge on the say-so of patients, they are difficult to prosecute. But in Wilmington, a city of 12,500 residents, 40 miles southeast of Dayton, an audio recording and the discovery of a second victim with compelling evidence — a pair of semen-stained pants — allowed the police department to beat the odds.

“If we didn’t have the evidence we had in this case, I don’t believe we would ever have gotten charges,” Riley said. “And it wouldn’t have been because I didn’t believe (the victims). It would have been because I couldn’t prove he did it.”

Dr. Daniel Moshos

Moshos was a relative newcomer to Wilmington when he was first accused in 2007. An occupational medicine specialist known as “Dr. Dan,” he had been hired only two years earlier to practice at a corporate health services clinic operated by the local hospital, Clinton Memorial.

“With his down-to-earth personality and impressive credentials, Dr. Moshos is a welcome addition to the (corporate health) team,” the hospital’s newsletter said in announcing his arrival.

In fact, subpoenaed documents would later show, Moshos had come to the facility after his former employer, Mercy Occupational Health Center in Springfield, Ohio, fired him in a dispute over his hours. He also had been investigated at that facility for at least two complaints by female patients of sexual harassment, the records show.

A spokesman for the company that owns Clinton Memorial, Regional Care Hospital Partners of Brentwood, Tenn., said he couldn’t comment on how Moshos was vetted because the hospital’s management team has changed since then.

When Riley first learned of the initial victim’s accusation, he asked the woman, Cheryl Johnson, if she would be willing to visit the doctor again, this time with a hidden digital recorder. Johnson, a cab driver who was seeing Moshos for a broken toe, agreed.

With the device in her purse, Johnson told Moshos she had trouble concentrating since seeing his penis, prompting the doctor to reply, “Maybe sometime I will give you a snack. What do you think?”

Wilmington Ohio Police Department

Cheryl Johnson accused Dr. Daniel Moshos of sexual misconduct. Johnson, a cab driver, was seeing Moshos for a broken toe. Before she died in 2014, she helped detective Josh Riley arrest Moshos with evidence from a hidden digital recorder.

Johnson died in 2014. Her daughter gave The Atlanta Journal-Constitution permission to identify her in this story.

The recording led to Moshos’ arrest on a charge of public indecency, a misdemeanor. When the arrest was reported in the Wilmington News Journal, the second victim — a warehouse worker who had seen Moshos for injuries to her back and neck — contacted Riley with more startling allegations.

Twice, the woman told the detective, Moshos tried to force himself on her. The first incident, she said, occurred on an isolated country road after the doctor promised to give her the results of an X-ray if she drove with him to a meeting. The second occurred two years later in the doctor’s office. Describing that incident, the woman told police Moshos ejaculated on her pants after she rebuffed his attempt at oral sex.

Remembering the conversation recently, Riley said he told the woman how significant it would be if she still had the pants and was stunned to learn that indeed she did. The woman had put the pants in a plastic shopping bag and left the bag in her garage, intending to throw it away but never getting around to it.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my God, I just won the detective lottery,’” Riley said.

Virtually the entire male population except for Moshos was excluded when the DNA on the pants was tested.

After a four-day trial in May 2009, Moshos was convicted of two counts of gross sexual imposition and one count of attempted rape, as well as the public indecency charge. The Ohio medical board later permanently revoked his license.

When the second woman testified, she explained why she hadn’t told anyone about the doctor’s conduct earlier.

“I couldn’t believe it myself,” she said. “I didn’t expect anybody else to. And I feared no other doctor would see me.”

The AJC usually does not identify victims of sexual assault and did not obtain permission to name this woman.

Moshos did not testify, but part of his defense was to question why the woman would continue to schedule appointments with him if he had sexually abused her.

The state argued that because she was being treated for a work-related injury, she had no choice if she wanted to be cleared to return.

“He had the power over her job, he knew it and he made sure she knew it,” said Andrew McCoy, the prosecutor who tried the case.

Moshos, who lives in a Dayton suburb, now manages a self-service car wash and works the overnight shift as a desk clerk at a motel on the weekends.

“Let me tell you, being a sex offender, it’s like the lowest class of society,” he said in a recent interview. “You are virtually unemployable.”

The 59-year-old describes himself as “falsely accused and unjustly convicted,” a belief that stems in part from the findings of a former FBI audio expert he hired who suggested the recording of the office visit had been tampered with.

But those who sent Moshos to prison believe he is a predator who got what he deserved.

“We had him,” Riley said. “We had his voice. We had his DNA. We had two very brave and courageous women who were going to get on the stand and tell the jury, the world, what happened to them. We had him.”