WASHINGTON — A Secret Service officer assigned to the White House has been arrested in an underage sexting sting.
Lee Robert Moore, 37, of Church Hill, Maryland, is accused of sending sexually explicit messages and nude pictures of himself to what he assumed was a 14-year-old girl earlier this year. In reality, he was sending pictures to an undercover Delaware State Police detective.
Moore faces state charges of sexual solicitation of a child under 18 and providing obscene material to a person under 18. He’s also facing federal charges of attempting to transmit obscene material to a minor. He faces up to 10 years in prison if convicted.
On Friday, Moore waived his right to a preliminary hearing Friday morning without appearing in court in Delaware on the state charges. Defense attorney John Barber waived the hearing and declined to comment. Moore’s parents spoke with Barber before and after the hearing but declined to comment to The Associated Press.
According to federal authorities, Moore reached out in August to an undercover detective posing as a 14-year-old girl on the social media application Meet24. They subsequently agreed to communicate using the social media app Kik, which allows the exchange of images and videos.
According to court records the correspondence between the two continued for three months. Some of the chats allegedly took place while Moore was on duty at the White House, once asking the undercover officer who he thought was a girl to send him something “exciting” on a day when he was checking IDs for a building entrance and complained that “work sucks today.”
In addition to sending graphic texts and images, Moore is also accused of trying to set up a meeting between the two. “Moore soon moved the chats sexual,” Detective Kevin McKay wrote in an affidavit. “He stated he wanted to travel to Delaware and meet in person for sex. Moore made it clear that he knew I was a 14 yr old girl.”
Police identified Moore using the pictures that were sent and information gathered from the services he’s accused of using to keep the conversation going.
On Nov. 6, the Secret Service was notified, and Moore was forced to turn in his gun, badge and security card and was placed on administrative leave.
“The Secret Service takes allegations of potential criminal activity extremely seriously,” the Secret Service said in a statement.
On Nov. 9, Moore turned himself into Maryland State Police.
The court records allege that during an interview at the MSP barracks, he admitted to sending the messages and taking the obscene photographs.
Moore’s arrest brings new scrutiny to a federal agency already reeling from a series of scandals stretching back to 2012, when more than a dozen agents and officers were implicated in a South American prostitution scandal. Since then, multiple agents and officers have been accused of wrongdoing.
Former agency director Julia Pierson was ousted last year after the disclosure of two security breaches, including an incident in which a man armed with a knife was able to scale a White House fence and run deep into the executive mansion.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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