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

MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) – A federal judge on Tuesday ordered a convicted sex offender detained 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 stable address, his criminal record and his history of substance abuse.

Moore was indicted on charges of possession of child pornography and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The charges stem from an investigation by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency that was launched in 2021 after a cyber tip from Microsoft indicated that someone using a mobile device uploaded child pornography to the Bing search engine in an effort similar to to find pictures.

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A search of Moore’s home on Abilene Drive South in May turned up a picture of a girl younger than 10 in a sexually explicit position, according to court records. Authorities also claim that the search led to the seizure of a loaded 9mm handgun, which Moore was not allowed to possess because of a previous sexual 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, working as a handyman. The motel room is near a school and the YMCA but not with the 2,000-foot zone prohibited for sex offenders.

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In addition to his 1994 conviction on two counts of child sexual abuse in 1994 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 said investigators found more than 500 images of child sexual abuse during a search of the defendant’s home. The agent said Moore admitted he knew he wasn’t allowed to have a gun, but that his grandson had given it to him for protection.

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Moore told authorities he used cocaine in 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 that he had suicidal thoughts.

If guilty of the gun charge, Moore faces a mandatory-minimum 15-year sentence.

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