A 38-year-old former U.S. Secret Service agent who is accused in Delaware of sending explicit photos of himself to as many as 30 underage girls while working at the White House appeared in federal court in West Palm Beach this week to face similar child exploitation charges here.
Lee Robert Moore, who was brought to South Florida last week from a federal detention center in Philadelphia, is charged with production of child pornography, attempted receipt of child pornography and use of a computer to persuade, entice or coerce a minor to engage in a sex act. The most serious charge the former U.S. Marine faces carries a possible life sentence and $250,000 fine.
According to an indictment a Broward County grand jury handed up in June, the offenses occurred between January and May 2014. It is unclear based on court papers filed here whether agents believe Moore committed the crimes while tasked with guarding President Obama and the first family.
But, prosecutors in Delaware said Moore, who lives with his wife and two children in Church Hill, Md., admitted he engaged in online sexual chats with minors while he was working at what they described as “one of the most secure places on the planet.”
“He did so while in the presence of other highly trained law enforcement officers and just yards from the President of the United States, his family and senior administration officials he was then protecting,” they wrote after Moore’s arrest in November.
Moore told federal agents he was unsure how many underage girls he contacted on his phone and other mobile devices, prosecutors said. He said “it could be four, it could be thirty,” but indicated it was probably about 10, they wrote.
Moore, who attended the U.S. Naval Academy, is charged in Delaware with one count of attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor. For months last year, agents for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said he sent dozens of sexually-charged messages and explicit photos of himself to an undercover agent, whom he believed was a 14-year-old girl.
In court papers that hinted at the looming South Florida charges, federal prosecutors in November said the Delaware charge was the least serious one he would face.
A federal magistrate in Delaware ordered that Moore be held without bond. Noting the serious nature of the allegations, Moore’s job as a guardian of the president, his military training and the number of loaded weapons he kept in his house, U.S. Magistrate Sherry Fallon said there were no set of conditions she could fashion that would assure the military sharpshooter wouldn’t flee.
He is to be back in federal court in West Palm Beach on Wednesday for a detention hearing. He has been declared indigent and is represented by a federal public defender.