SHAFTSBURY — A Shaftsbury resident is on parole with conditions after pleading guilty to two counts of possession of images of child sexual abuse.
Ryan Moore, 37, took a guilty plea on Friday after the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force led an investigation to prove he was in possession of illicit materials.
According to court documents, on or around Feb. 12, 2020, the task force received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Detective Jesse Sawyer was assigned to lead the investigation.
Sawyer first identified the online user that uploaded the materials as Moore. His name, phone number and email address were linked to the account.
The first file of explicit material that prompted the original CyberTip contained a photo of a girl being abused. The minor in the photo appeared to be a female child under the age of 8, according to court documents.
In March of 2021, after being delayed due to COVID-19, Sawyer was granted a search warrant for Moore’s home. Sawyer and another officer knocked on his front door and were greeted by Moore’s wife.
The officers asked Moore to talk, and he obliged. While standing on the front porch, Moore denied accessing the material. He then signed a consent form that allowed for an examination of his cell phone.
Sawyer states that Moore “presented as evasive and nervous during his initial interview.”
He claimed that he discarded any electronic devices he previously owned, other than two cell phones. However, during the search of his home, “at least one laptop purportedly discarded by Ryan” was found, according to court documents.
The initial scan of the electronic devices found three additional files that court records describe as “concerning material.”
The first filename states the girl shown is 10 years old. She is being assaulted in the video. The second filename claims a 14-year-old girl is shown in the video performing an illicit act. The third video shows a young girl, presumed to be under the age of 16, in an illicit act.
In a follow-up interview, Moore admitted to accessing and pleasuring himself to these kinds of images. He admitted to accessing the illegal content “within the past few weeks.” He said his age range preference was for children 12 to 14 years of age.
Court documents state that Moore estimated that he pleasured himself to this material about once or twice a week.
Although he admitted to viewing it, he denied ever sharing or creating the material — he only used the virtual content for “personal sexual pleasure.”
Sawyer said, “Ryan expressed remorse and regret for his actions” and that Moore was open to counseling.
He was charged with four counts of possession of the content. He pleaded guilty to two of them, and the other two were dismissed by the state.
Moore’s sentencing has not been scheduled, but his plea agreement states he is facing two to 10 years, all suspended, with a 10-year probation. He will also have to pay $294 in court fines and surcharges.
There are multiple conditions associated with the plea agreement. They include a psychosexual evaluation, Moore is required to register as a sex offender for 10 years after he is discharged from parole, and the two felony counts that were dismissed will remain on his record — they will not be expunged.
Moore is also subject to sex offender special conditions of probation that include a treatment program, a ban on owning or viewing any pornography, a ban on having access to places where children congregate, no computer privileges and no contact with anyone under the age of 16.