David Moe, preschool teacher who kept hugs journal: Limited indictments
Update: Earlier this month, we told you about the strange case of David Moe, a veteran teacher at Paddington School whose bust on child pornography charges was seemingly echoed by word that he kept an 800-page journal outlining his creepy fascination with very young children; see our original coverage below. But a grand jury's indictments against Moe don't include accusations that he either molested any children or produced child porn starring them.
Big photo below.
Moe, who worked at Paddington for eighteen years, reportedly had pages of his journal squirreled away in pretty much every nook and cranny of his home -- those that weren't already filled with DVDs and CDs featuring objectionable images of children, that is.
Moreover, many of the entries appear to have sexualized the youngsters. The Denver Post quotes one that described a girl as "hot and cold," and added, "We'll see how hot she is if anything good. She may just be a stick in the mud."
An illustration of the school from its Facebook page.
These kinds of statements suggest behavior known as grooming -- essentially targeting and drawing in children for sexual exploitation and assault. But the three-count indictment on view below isn't based on such actions. Rather, Moe is accused of knowingly distributing and attempting to distribute child pornography between April 28 and July 24 of this year; knowingly receiving and attempting to receive child pornography between May 13 and May 15; and possessing material that contained child pornography shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce, including by computer.
These are very serious crimes. Conviction on the first offense brings with it a possible federal prison jolt of between five and twenty years and a $250,000 fine, with the same potential punishment for the second count, and up to ten years imprisonment for the third violation. But had he actually molested any of the children, or taken pornographic photos of them, the sentencing ceiling would have been much higher.
Can't imagine the limited nature of the indictments makes parents at Paddington feel any better. Indeed, the Post's most recent article about Moe explores the question of liability for the school should parents sue the facility for employing such a person for so long.
Of course, negligence may be difficult to prove, even if (update) the question of whether the school was aware of Moe's predilections remains in dispute. (The same is true of reports that Moe had been quizzed but not charged about inappropriate contact with a child a decade ago.) But lawsuits aren't beyond the realm of possibility in a case as unnerving as this one. Here are the indictments.
Continue reading to see our earlier coverage of the David Moe case.