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David Moe: Child-porn plea deal in the works for preschool teacher who kept "hugs journal"

In August, we told you the very strange story of David Moe, a preschool teacher arrested on child-porn charges.

At first, parents feared he might have molested kids under his supervision, or taken disturbing photos of them, especially when info surfaced about a "hugs journal" that appeared to be sexualizing the children. But he was not accused of these crimes in an indictment on view below -- and now, a plea deal is apparently in the works.

As we've reported, Moe worked at Paddington School for eighteen years -- which only made his arrest last summer for alleged distribution and possession of child pornography that much more shocking.

Paddington Station Preschool.
Paddington Station Preschool.

Turns out that Moe had been questioned ten years earlier on an accusation of inappropriate contact with a child. (Paddington appears to have been unaware of this incident.) But nothing was proven then, and he had apparently avoided other allegations until an undercover officer observed what is described as "child pornography available for downloading on another computer that was using peer-to-peer software to share files."

In the end, some 4,100 images were found on more than 500 CDs, six portable hard drives and two computers. They represented a mix of child pornography and child erotica, with the latter often being deemed legal, if more than a bit disturbing to most people. Even more disturbing to Paddington parents, though, was news of an 800-page journal, with descriptions of Moe's interactions with children in his charge.Here are some sample entries:

"Did hold [name withheld by prosecutors] by the waist briefly, and she didn't flinch."

"Had [name withheld] by the hips, and she was fine by that."

"I was overly affection [sic] with her, but I love her so. No more of that."

"Gave her a kiss on the cheek, and no bad reaction. I love her so much."

In the immediate aftermath of Moe's arrest, Paddington released a statement stressing that "we are not aware of any evidence that David Moe was producing child pornography," adding, "We are not aware of any evidence that his alleged activities occurred on school property." The statement concluded like so: "We share your frustration, anger and sorrow over the events of the past several days and continue to seek all of the facts as quickly as possible."

After the evidence was reviewed, U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Michael Hegarty agreed to release Moe. But because prosecutors at a hearing on the issue had enumerated approximately 100 instances of him touching, tickling and hugging preschool-age girls over a decade and a half, Hegarty put the following conditions on him:

(1) a property bond for the home where Defendant was living at the time of his arrest, in the full amount of the equity in the home. (Note: It's valued at $283,000);

(2) home incarceration (with no permission to leave the dwelling other than for court appearances);

(3) active GPS monitoring, which shows in real time Defendant's current location;

(4) avoiding all contact with any minor children;

(5) residence at Defendant's parents' home and placement in their custody, with them agreeing to (a) supervise the Defendant, (b) use every effort to assure the Defendant's appearance at all court proceedings, and (c) notify the Court immediately if the Defendant violates a condition of release or is no longer in the custodian's custody;

(6) prohibition from Defendant accessing the internet;

(7) prohibition from the Defendant accessing, possessing, or viewing any pornography, child or adult;

(8) prohibition from the Defendant subscribing to any internet service;

(9) requiring that the Defendant and/or his parents shall cancel any internet service and provide verification of cancellation to the Probation Office;

(10) allowing the Probation Office to monitor access to personal computers or laptops and allowing the Probation Office entrance to his residence for such purpose;

(11) purging any personal computers or electronic devices of all existing image files containing pornography within 24 hours of release;

(12) prohibition from use of any encryption software;

(13) undergoing a mental health evaluation and participating in a program of mental health treatment, as approved by the supervising probation officer.

Continue for more about the latest developments in the David Moe case, including photos and the indictment. 
An illustration of the school from its Facebook page.
An illustration of the school from its Facebook page.

In the indictment, 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.

Presumably, such potential punishment inspired Moe and his attorney to deal -- and according to 9News, a federal court filing shows that an agreement with prosecutors has been reached. It's expected to be announced next month, when Moe is next scheduled to appear in court.

Here's a larger look at Moe's booking photo, followed by the indictment:

David Moe.
David Moe.
David Moe Indictment

More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Photos: Twenty faces of accused child-porn fans."


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