Judge: Key evidence OK in porn case | AspenTimes.com

Judge: Key evidence OK in porn case

Joel Stonington
Aspen, CO Colorado

Brad Moore during court proceedings Monday afternoon in Aspen. (Jordan Curet/The Aspen Times)

ASPEN ” Key evidence will be allowed in the upcoming child pornography trial of former drama teacher Bradford Moore, a judge ruled Monday.

Moore, 49, who resigned in the wake of the allegations after teaching 11 years in the Aspen School District, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of possessing child pornography.

Moore’s lawyer, Saskia Jordan, tried to have evidence from four interviews Moore gave to police thrown out. The interviews are from the early stages of the investigation.

Though parts of Monday’s four-hour hearing were closed to the public, court records state that Moore admitted to Pitkin County sheriff’s investigator Bruce Benjamin that he viewed child pornography, though he did not admit to saving the images.

In the hearing, Jordan argued that the interviews with Benjamin were coercive and should not be allowed during the trial.

District Judge James Boyd denied the motion to suppress that evidence and said the tone of the interviews was not coercive nor did they amount to a custodial interrogation, either of which would have disallowed the evidence.

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Statements by Jordan and Deputy District Attorney Gail Nichols suggested Moore’s defense will center around whether Moore actually intended to possess child pornography. Nichols must prove that Moore had that intent.

In court documents, Benjamin states Moore had “stated definitively he had never saved any pictures involving child pornography on his computer,” and that the “child porn came up on his computer without him wanting to.”

In the same document, Benjamin wrote: “When I asked about the children’s ages on the sites that Mr. Moore had viewed, he replied, ‘some were very young … some were teenagers.'”

On Monday, Jordan said there was no evidence that Moore had knowingly possessed the images. She said simply viewing the websites is not enough for a conviction.

Monday’s hearing doubled as a pre-trial conference, thus other issues were discussed including whether Nichols must provide information identifying the alleged juveniles in the images. Nichols said information on the identities of the alleged children in the photos, sometimes just first names, has been coming in from national and international law enforcement agencies.

Jordan also had tried to suppress the actual images found on Moore’s computer ” 100-plus images of child sexual exploitation ” on grounds that the search of the computer was unconstitutional. However, Boyd found the search was constitutional and allowed the images for the upcoming trial.

There was debate, however, over the number of images that would be allowed. Nichols estimated she would admit 50 to 75 images; Boyd said he might limit the number to 40.

If convicted, Moore faces a possible sentence of two to six years in prison and a fine of $2,000 to $500,000. Moore also would have to register as a sex offender.

A hearing on whether cartoons depicting incest that were allegedly found on Moore’s computer will be allowed is scheduled Nov. 27 at 2:30 p.m.

The trial is scheduled Dec. 4-10.

Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is jstonington@aspentimes.com

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