Firefighter accused of molesting 3 kids
‘BIZARRE’ Charged with hanging them from wall
Prosecutors revealed shocking molestation allegations against a Chicago firefighter Wednesday, claiming he sexually assaulted three young children for about a year in his Little Village basement apartment.
Jose Moreno, 48, is accused of suspending the children from pegs on his wall while he molested them, prosecutors said.
A Cook County judge ordered Moreno, a firefighter since 2005, held without bail Wednesday.
Moreno is charged with molesting a 3-year-old girl and boys ages 5 and 6 in the building he owns in the 2500 block of South Millard, Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Kevin Nolan said.
Often, the children would witness the attacks on each other, Nolan added.
Moreno watched the children three to four days a week for three to four hours a day, Nolan said.
The children live near Moreno but are not related to him, according to authorities.
When police executed a search warrant in Moreno’s apartment, they noted holes bored into the walls and recovered pegs used for hanging the victims, children’s underwear, child pornography and pictures Moreno said he took of dolls simulating sex acts, Nolan said. Officers also recovered a gun, Nolan said.
Moreno has been charged with three counts of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child for the alleged attacks that took place between Feb. 1, 2007, and Dec. 11. He was also charged with violating the city’s gun ordinance, a misdemeanor.
Moreno told police he is sexually attracted to girls under 12 and even described the 3-year-old victim as a “pretty girl with a pretty face,” Nolan said.
Moreno’s attorney, Gal Pissetzky, called the accusations “bizarre” and, at the bond hearing, described his client as an upstanding citizen.
Moreno, a member of the Fire Department’s Unit 5, served in the U.S. Army and received a unit merit award, Pissetzky said.
“This person is a remarkable individual,” his lawyer said. “He cannot wait to clear his name.”
Moreno has been on administrative leave with pay, Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
Langford noted that the man accused of the crimes should not be confused with a Fire Department captain with the same name.
If convicted, Moreno could serve life in prison. He has no criminal background.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services is investigating, and the children remain in the care of their families, department spokesman Kendall Marlowe said.