Official arrested after porn files clog server
By CHRIS TISCH and ROBERT FARLEY
© St. Petersburg Times,
CLEARWATER -- On May 31, computer technicians for Pinellas County government received a message from the computer server in the Environmental Management Division office in Clearwater.
The server was clogged with files, its available space sliced to less than 20 percent, slowing down all the computers in the office. A computer technician noticed a lot of files were recently moved there by the division manager, Donald D. Moores.
The technician looked at the files. They contained sexual images Pinellas sheriff's investigators say included child pornography that had been downloaded by Moores.
Detectives on Thursday charged Moores, 61, with four felony charges of sexual performance by a child. He was fired from his $63,300-per-year job, which he had held for 12 years, after detectives greeted him at work Thursday morning and took him into custody.
Investigators say Moores left a trail of evidence when he moved the pornography to the server so he could do maintenance work on his computer. "He wasn't thinking, and he basically transferred them to make it easier to do the maintenance," said Detective Matthew Miller of the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's Crimes Against Children unit.
Miller and Detective Kurt Romanosky served a search warrant at Moores' county office, 512 S Fort Harrison, Wednesday night. The investigators found at least 10,000 pornographic or erotic photos in Moore's computer and in disks or print-outs in his desk. They seized at least 300 computer disks, which they believe hold up to 70,000 erotic photos, Miller said.
Most of the photos show adult pornography, but Miller and Romanosky found more than 100 photos showing nude children, and about 25 showing child pornography, which is defined as photos showing children involved in sex acts.
Sheriff's officials said detectives only looked through a fraction of the disks they seized, and more charges are possible. Miller said Moores admitted to downloading the images from the Internet and expressed remorse.
"He just became obsessed with it," Miller said.
Moores was released from the Pinellas County Jail after posting $20,000 bond late Thursday. He could not be reached for comment. His wife of 36 years declined to comment when reached at their home on Riverside Drive N.
Sheriff's officials said Moores has no children and has never been in trouble before.
According to arrest affidavits, Moores printed three images of children as young as 6 years old engaged in sex acts with adults, which the detectives also seized from his office.
Miller said the photographs are color and black and white. He said it's possible the children -- many now adults -- could encounter their photos on the Internet.
"These children are being victimized over and over and over again," Miller said.
Alfred Leiser, the county's director of information technology, said once the photos were taken off the server, the available space grew to about 60 percent.
Leiser said computer managers had told employees in Moores' office that they had planned maintenance work on the office computers just before the files showed up on the server. But Miller said Moores told detectives he planned to do the maintenance himself and didn't put the photos on the server to hide them from technicians.
Moores' colleagues said he was a valued employee. He received glowing annual evaluations, according to documents in his personnel file. Fellow employees said they were surprised by the charges.
"All his professional work with Pinellas County has been excellent," said Timothy Ahlstrom, assistant director of the Department of Environmental Management. "He's always been an excellent employee. The issues that came to light of late are totally out of character."
Moores received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of South Florida. He worked for the Department of Environmental Regulation in Tampa for 10 years before coming to Pinellas County, where he was recently in charge of 12 employees.
Moores' division is responsible for monitoring groundwater and seagrass, as well as various educational programs on water quality and manatee protection regulations. Moores would have had no contact with children as part of his job, Ahlstrom said.
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