Federal judge in Mobile orders convicted sex offender jailed pending trial on child porn charges

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the detention of a convicted sex offender pending trial on new child pornography and weapons charges.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Katherine “Kit” Nelson ruled that Frederick Norville Moore, 73, is a danger to the community. The judge cited the defendant’s lack of a stable address, his criminal record and his substance abuse history.

Moore was charged with possession of child pornography and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The charges stem from an Alabama Law Enforcement Agency investigation launched in 2021 after a cyber tip from Microsoft indicated that someone with a mobile device had uploaded child pornography to the Bing search engine in an effort to locate similar images.

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A search of Moore’s home on Abilene Drive South in May turned up an image of a girl under the age of 10 in a sexually explicit position, according to court records. Authorities also say the search resulted in the seizure of a loaded 9mm handgun that Moore was not allowed to have because of a previous sex-assault conviction.

According to the judge’s written order, Moore recently separated from his wife and has been living in a motel room in Foley since August, and has been working as a handyman. The motel room is near a school and the YMCA, but not the 2,000-foot no-go zone for sex offenders.

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In addition to his 1994 conviction on two counts of first-degree child sexual abuse in Mobile County Circuit Court, Moore had a 1977 federal conviction for selling phencyclidine, according to court records.

At a detention hearing this week, a Homeland Security Investigations agent testified that investigators found more than 500 images of child sexual abuse during a search of the defendant’s home. The officer testified that Moore admitted he knew he wasn’t allowed to have a gun but that his grandson gave it to him for protection.

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Moore told authorities he used cocaine during the 1980s and currently smokes marijuana daily, according to court records. The Office of Pretrial Services reported that Moore had begun seeing a therapist since his arrest and had suicidal thoughts.

If convicted on the weapons charge, Moore faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.

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