Po­lit­i­cal ad­viser in­dicted on child porn

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - ARKANSAS - LINDA SATTER

for­mal grand jury in­dict­ment was filed Fri­day in fed­eral court in Lit­tle Rock charg­ing Arkansas po­lit­i­cal con­sul­tant Harold “H.L.” Moody Jr. with six child pornog­ra­phy charges.

Moody, 37, was ar­rested Mon­day night on a crim­i­nal com­plaint that was filed Nov. 2 and un­sealed Tues­day. A com­plaint is used to charge some­one un­til a grand jury can re­view the case and de­cide whether to for­mally in­dict the per­son.

The com­plaint ac­cused Moody, for­mer chair­man of the Pu­laski County Demo­cratic Party for two years and com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the Demo­cratic Party of Arkansas for a year and a half, of us­ing a video­con­fer­enc­ing ap­pli­ca­tion to view and share videos of adults rap­ing chil­dren.

Moody had been a spe­cial events co­or­di­na­tor for Pu­laski County Youth Ser­vices since Feb­ru­ary 2017, af­ter he left the Demo­cratic Party of Arkansas. He was work­ing for the county at the time he was charged and was fired as a re­sult, ac­cord­ing to a spokesman for the county.

The spokesman noted that Moody’s job was “strictly an ad­min­is­tra­tive po­si­tion” and that he didn’t in­ter­act with chil­dren as part of his work.

An in­dict­ment handed up Thurs­day and filed Fri­day lev­els six charges against Moody: two counts of re­ceipt of child pornog­ra­phy, both on Aug. 29; three counts of dis­tri­bu­tion of child pornog­ra­phy, on Sept. 7, Sept. 9 and Oct. 15; and a sin­gle count of con­spir­ing with oth­ers be­tween Aug. 29 and Oct. 12 to ad­ver­tise child pornog­ra­phy to buy, sell or ex­change.

The in­dict­ment on which Moody will be ar­raigned Nov. 27 be­fore U.S. Mag­is­trate Judge Joe Volpe doesn’t go into de­tail about the charges.

How­ever, an af­fi­davit sup­port­ing the crim­i­nal com­plaint laid out prob­a­ble cause for his ar­rest.

Ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from U.S. At­tor­ney Cody Hi­land and Jere T. Miles, spe­cial agent in charge of Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions’ New Or­leans Di­vi­sion, an un­der­cover in­ves­ti­ga­tion into child ex­ploita­tion chat rooms led fed­eral agents to dis­cover Moody. The agents ob­served him in the chat rooms at least five times, the of­fi­cials said.

The af­fi­davit said that on Aug. 29 agents saw Moody through his we­b­cam in a chat room when child pornog­ra­phy was be­ing dis­played. It said his face was clearly vis­i­ble and he ap­peared to be in an of­fice. Later that same day, he was again ob­served in the same chat room while in the same of­fice, it said.

An in­ves­ti­ga­tor wrote that on Sept. 7, Moody was seen on cam­era dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy, in­clud­ing a video of an adult male per­form­ing oral sex on two pre-pubescent males. The com­plaint said he fol­lowed the video with a mes­sage to all par­tic­i­pants of the chat room say­ing, “not the ver­sion i thought.”

When an­other user asked Moody to play more videos, he re­sponded, “I do not play on de­mand,” ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

It says he was again in the chat room dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy Sept. 9 and Oct. 12.

The af­fi­davit didn’t in­di­cate whether Moody was vis­it­ing the chat rooms from his county of­fice, or where the of­fice was. The of­fi­cials said that fed­eral law en­force­ment of­fi­cers briefed the county Mon­day af­ter­noon and they de­cided to fire him im­me­di­ately.

His job in­volved plan­ning fundrais­ers, such as a Cham­pi­ons of Youth event last month, ac­cord­ing to county spokesman Cozetta Jones.

His per­son­nel file, which was pro­vided by the county in re­sponse to a Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act re­quest, shows that while in col­lege, from 2010 un­til 2014, he served as an in­tern for the Demo­cratic Party of Arkansas, where he worked on “party build­ing and fundrais­ing events.”

It shows he was chair­man of the county party from 2015 un­til 2017, and then worked as com­mu­ni­ca­tions di­rec­tor for the state party from July 2015 un­til he was hired by the county.

His Face­book page in­di­cates he was also the cam­paign man­ager for Tippi McCul­lough of Lit­tle Rock, who is poised to rep­re­sent Arkansas House District 33 af­ter win­ning a pri­mary and fac­ing no op­po­nent in the gen­eral elec­tion.

Moody’s per­son­nel file at the county shows he was given a raise five months af­ter he started, with his su­per­vi­sor not­ing in a memo that he was “ex­cep­tion­ally well-qual­i­fied.”

If con­victed of dis­tri­bu­tion of child pornog­ra­phy, Moody faces five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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