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Former Aspen drama teacher gets three years of probation on porn charge

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN ” In an emotionally charged hearing Monday in Pitkin County District Court, former drama teacher Bradford Moore was sentenced to three years of supervised probation on a single misdemeanor conviction of possession or control of sexually exploitative material.

“I am deeply remorseful for my conduct and the impact it has had on my family, friends and my community,” the 49-year-old Moore, whose voice broke during his brief statements, told the court.

Dozens of community members attended the proceedings in support of Moore, who taught in the Aspen School District for 11 years.

As Moore was sentenced, audience members cried along with him and gave him hugs afterward.

Even so, District Judge James Boyd was stern with Moore about the seriousness of the crime to which he pleaded guilty, reading from the state statute banning child pornography.

“The crime you committed is part of you, too,” said Boyd, who recognized the extensive support shown at the sentencing. “Children were the victim of the crime.”

Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols told the story of one 6-year-old she claimed was in one of the photographs found on Moore’s computer.

“Those children feel victimized for a long time,” Nichols said. “With that in mind, the resolution was appropriate.”

Bruce Benjamin, the juvenile investigator for the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office who investigated the crime, said the photo files were matched through the Child Victim Identification Program. He said 28 of the 119 still photographs were positively identified as children from across the country and globe, including Brazil, England, France, Belgium and Germany.

“I have a strong stomach and I couldn’t sleep for two days after viewing [the images],” Benjamin said after the hearing. “Some of the images were extremely graphic.”

Judge Boyd reminded Moore that in 2007 the state lawmakers changed the crime of possession of a single image of child pornography from a misdemeanor to a felony. As part of the plea deal, Moore’s plea was back-dated so he could plead guilty to a misdemeanor.

In justifying the resolution, Nichols said Moore already had been punished by losing his job, his housing and his license to teach. As part of the sentence, Moore cannot have a job where he is in contact with children.

During the sentencing hearing, Nichols said Moore had viewed free images and videos from the Internet, that no e-mails of the images were sent out or received, and that there had been no reports of inappropriate behavior following Moore’s arrest in November 2006.

Even Judge Boyd said the fact that Moore had committed the crime was something of a paradox considering that supporters wrote what Boyd called “voluminous” letters speaking passionately about Moore’s devotion to the community, local theater and his profession of teaching.

“He’s touched so many lives,” former Aspen Mayor Bill Sterling told the court. “It’s just remarkable.”

As part of the plea deal, Moore must register as a sex offender. Though Nichols will not object if Moore petitions to be taken off the sex offender registry five years after his probationary period ends.

If the probation department petitions for early termination of probation, Nichols will not object to that either.

The plea deal states that Pitkin County Social Services has determined it is in the best interest of Moore’s stepson to continue living with Moore. However, if Moore is required to participate in sex offense treatment as part of his sentence, the treatment provider will decide the level of Moore’s contact with his stepson.

The crime had a suggested jail sentence of six to 18 months and fines of $500 to $5,000. The felony Moore first was charged with, which was dismissed as part of the plea deal, carried penalties of two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000.

jstonington@aspentimes.com


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