DOVER, Del. (AP) — Federal and state authorities have charged a uniformed Secret Service officer from Maryland with sending obscene images and texts to someone he thought was a young Delaware girl, sometimes sending online communications while on duty at the White House.
Unbeknownst to Lee Robert Moore, 37, the person he thought was a 14-year-old girl was actually an undercover Delaware police officer.
According to a complaint unsealed Thursday in federal court in Wilmington, Moore surrendered to Maryland State Police on Monday after being placed on administrative leave last week.
Moore is charged in federal court with attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor. He also faces a state court preliminary hearing Friday on two counts of sexual solicitation of a child under 18 and one count of providing obscene material to a person under 18.
According to the federal complaint, Moore often engaged in online chats while on duty, once asking the undercover officer to send him something “exciting” one day when he was checking IDs for building entrance and complained that “work sucks today.”
It was not immediately clear Thursday whether Moore had hired an attorney.
In an emailed statement Thursday, the agency said the matter was reported to its Office of Professional Responsibility on Nov. 6. It said Moore’s security clearance was suspended that same day, his Secret Service-issued equipment was retrieved, his access to Secret Service facilities was terminated and he was placed on leave.
“The Secret Service takes allegations of potential criminal activity extremely seriously,” the agency said in the statement.
Moore’s arrest is the latest embarrassment for the Secret Service, which is charged with protecting the president and his family. The agency has been plagued by a series of scandals stretching back to 2012 when more than a dozen agents and officers were implicated in hiring prostitutes during a South American presidential trip. Since then, multiple agents and officers have been accused of wrongdoing, and the agency’s management has been overhauled.