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Child Exploitation

Former Denver-area preschool teacher sentenced to 8 years in federal prison for distributing child pornography

DENVER — A former Denver-area preschool teacher was sentenced Tuesday to serve eight years in federal prison for distributing child pornography.

This sentence was announced by U.S. Attorney John Walsh, District of Colorado, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Kumar C. Kibble.

Following his prison sentence, U.S. District Court Judge William J. Martinez ordered David Moe, 46, of Denver, to spend 10 years on supervised release. Moe was also ordered to pay $5,000 restitution to each of three victims who filed requests with the court. He will also be required to register as a sex offender. Moe, who appeared at the sentencing hearing in custody, was remanded at the hearing's conclusion.

According to court documents, including the stipulated facts contained in the plea agreement, on May 4, 2012, a detective with Loveland (Colorado) Police Department, who is a member of the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Task Force, while working in an undercover capacity, accessed a peer-to-peer file-sharing program via the Internet. The undercover detective was able to connect directly to the remote host computer and the requested file was placed in queue. He remained in queue to receive the file until May 6, 2012, when the connection was terminated. The detective completed downloading the file.

Using investigative techniques, the detective determined that a child pornography file was being offered for distribution. It was later determined that the Internet Protocol (IP) address offering the child pornography file for distribution resolved to Moe's residence in Denver. HSI special agents obtained a federal search warrant which was executed July 24, 2012. During the execution of the search warrant, items containing child pornography were seized, including two desktop computers, numerous external hard drives, and 383 CDs and DVDs. All the items seized by HSI special agents belonged to Moe.

During the execution of the warrant, Moe told special agents that he had been a teacher at Paddington Station preschool for the last 18 years. At the time of the search warrant, Moe taught Cultural Rhythms/Enrichments (3 to 5 year olds) and had been the Director of Enrichments and Before and After School Care programs since 2005.

HSI conducted a forensic examination of Moe's computers, external hard drives, CDs and DVDs. Evidence of distributing and receiving child pornography was found on Moe's two computers and an external hard drive. Child pornography files were found on Moe's computers, external hard drives, and 383 CDs and DVDs. At least 800,000 child pornography/erotica images and over 13,000 child pornography/erotica videos were located on Moe's computers and computer media, including the video that had been made available to the undercover detective in May 2012.

A forensic examination reflected that Moe's child pornography files were well-organized and archived. The examination revealed that Moe possessed child pornography for at least 10 years. Further, the examination revealed that Moe distributed and received child pornography since at least 2007. Moe's child pornography collection included pornographic depictions of children as young as toddlers.

As described in the plea agreement, a forensic examination was conducted on Moe's computers and computer media. All images and videos of child pornography recovered during forensic examination were provided to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). A thorough review of all the images and videos possessed by Moe reflected no evidence that he created or produced child pornography. Moe pleaded guilty to distributing existing child pornography May 30, 2013.

"The conduct the defendant was sentenced for today is reprehensible," said U.S. Attorney John Walsh. "Moe spent 10 years collecting nearly 2,000,000 images of children engaged in explicit sexual conduct, all the while working as a preschool teacher. The U.S. Attorney's Office will continue to work with determination to protect children, and to combat the market for child pornography that Defendant Moe so extravagantly helped to fuel."

"The predator's market for sharing child pornography is built by people like David Moe who possessed more than a million explicit images of children being sexually abused," said Kumar C. Kibble, special agent in charge of HSI Denver. "Our HSI special agents routinely work with our law enforcement partners to remove these predators from civil society."

This case was investigated by HSI.

Moe was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alecia Riewerts Wolak, District of Colorado.

This investigation was part of Operation Predator, a nationwide HSI initiative to protect children from sexual predators, including those who travel overseas for sex with minors, Internet child pornographers, criminal alien sex offenders and child sex traffickers. HSI encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at 1-866-347-2423 or by completing its online tip form. Both are staffed around the clock by investigators.

Suspected child sexual exploitation or missing children may be reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, an Operation Predator partner, via its toll-free 24-hour hotline, 1-800-843-5678.

HSI is a founding member and current chair of the Virtual Global Taskforce, an international alliance of law enforcement agencies and private industry sector partners working together to prevent and deter online child sexual abuse.