While he was on White House duty, authorities say U.S. Secret Service officer Lee Robert Moore was sexting what he thought was a 14-year-old girl. In fact, it was a Delaware Child Predator Task Force undercover agent he was chatting with on the Met24 and Kik chat apps. Police say Moore sent pictures of “what appeared to be his penis” to the agent.
Moore was charged with attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor, sexual solicitation of a child under 18, and providing obscene material to a minor.
Authorities said they communicated with him for two months, while his second child was born and was experiencing a medical condition that required a significant surgery.
Moore “wanted to travel to Delaware and meet in person for sex,” Detective Kevin McKay said, according to an affidavit.
The married 37-year-old U.S. Marine from Maryland lost his job. He remained in federal prison since late last year, records show. And more charges were coming his way on Thursday from Florida, as prosecutors said he sought to “sexually exploit multiple minor, teenage girls.”
Moore now faces new charges in Broward County, according to an indictment filed on Thursday, related to a 4-month sexting binge in 2014. Investigators say he admitted that he had online seuxal chats with about 10 underage girls, but said that his “absolute minimum” age was 14 years old. The new charges include “attempted production of child pornography, attempted receipt of child pornography, and using a computer to persuade, entice or coerce a minor to engage in a sex act.”
But at least the guy had some standards with his “absolute minimum” age of fourteen! I’m sure that makes the parents of the girls who were sexually exploited feel much better.
This story is unique because it involves a U.S. Secret Service agent who was working at the White House. But it’s not unique in the sense that it’s happening all over America, to normal teenagers (guys and girls) who don’t have the maturity or good judgement to realize what they’re wandering into when they’re approached by child predators. It seems fun and flirty and exciting to these kids, but a) it’s against the law and b) adults who target young teens are perverts. Nothing good is going to come of that.
Next page: How to protect your teens from online predators.
Seventy-three percent of teens have smartphones. If (or because) your kids do, you have a responsibility as their parents to snoop on them. As a requirement for the privilege of having a phone, kids should be required to share their logins and passwords with parents and they should be informed that you have the right to look at anything they’re doing at any time. And you should do it. Often. Secrecy is the enemy of safety in the teen years. Even if the kids are paying for their own phones (the majority aren’t), they’re still living at your house for free, getting free food, electricity, water, and health insurance (the list goes on and on). Know who your kids’ friends are. Know what apps they’re using and learn how to use them yourself. This is no time to be a luddite. While everyone (your kids included) thinks it’s adorable that you throw up your hands and say you don’t understand all this new technology, your lack of awareness is putting your kids in harm’s way.
If you don’t want to be a giant hypocrite, model openness in your marriage—husbands and wives should share passwords and be open about their online communications. Secrecy is the enemy of a strong marriage (just google “Facebook divorce” sometime).
Smartphones are a convenient way for families to stay connected and they offer some apps that are useful, perhaps even necessary, in our modern world. But they come with risks. If you don’t want your children to end up on the wrong end of one of these news stories, you owe it to them to take every precaution you possibly can to protect them from the perverts and predators who are out there trolling for an easy mark.