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More legal troubles for Albemarle man facing child porn charges

On the eve of his expected plea in a child pornography case, an Albemarle County man has been separately convicted of attacking his wife.

Christopher Neill Moore, 23, pleaded guilty Monday in Albemarle County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

“I’m finding you guilty of one count of domestic assault and battery,” said Judge Areshini Pather.

The judge was accepting an agreement between the prosecution and the defense that would let Moore avoid all active jail time. This was because, the prosecutor hinted, Moore faces the potential of a jail term on child exploitation charges filed “across the street,” as she put it.

“This is a bit of an unusual case, your honor,” said Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Holly Vradenburgh in submitting the agreement calling for all 30 days to be suspended.

A police complaint alleges that on Jan. 9 Moore shoved his wife and held her down on a bed in their Turtle Creek apartment. The investigating officer, Justin Gibson, alleged that he saw scratch marks on the victim’s chest and upper arms and noted that a witness watched the attack occur.

With a guilty plea to the battery, Moore earned a prosecution promise to drop a related charge of violating the terms of a previously suspended sentence. Public records show that Moore received a suspended sentence when he was convicted in this same court about a year ago for damaging a phone line to prevent a 911 call.

Moore has faced charges for assaulting a family member before.

In late 2021, in a case classified as a deferred disposition, he won a dismissal of one such charge. In that case, he allegedly went into his parents’ house with a pocket knife, broke a bedroom door, knocked over various objects and pushed his mother against a dresser.

As a condition of suspending all 30 days on this new charge, the judge ordered Moore to avoid any violent or abusive contact with his wife, Yesenia Balazs. Given that he has been an inmate at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail since his summertime arrest, this task should be simpler than it might have been back at the apartment.

Dressed in the distinctive horizontal stripes of the Charlottesville jailhouse jumpsuit, Moore showed no obvious emotion during his sentencing in the court’s upstairs courtroom.

What Moore faces across the street in Albemarle Circuit Court dwarfs his earlier legal troubles. He has been accused of uploading videos to Dropbox of children getting sexually abused. Dropbox notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which alerted Albemarle authorities.

According to a search warrant, one uploaded file depicts a child estimated to be 8 years old being orally violated by an adult male’s penis; another video shows a toddler, age 3 or 4, being sexually violated in the mouth by a bald man with sideburns; yet another video depicts a tween or teenage girl using a vibrator on a child between the ages of 4 and 6.

In all, investigators flagged four videos depicting sexual violations of prepubescent children and another of an older child.

Last summer, Moore was arrested and charged with five counts of possessing child pornography. However, when an Albemarle grand jury met last month it not only indicted him on all five charges but it added an indecent liberties charge alleging that, nearly four years ago, Moore requested a girl under the age of 15 to disrobe.

While Moore’s bail sheet notes no prior convictions for possessing child pornography, the new indictments list each of the five child porn charges as a second offense. A second child pornography offense constitutes a Class 5 felony with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison. Indecent liberties is a Class 6 felony which carries a maximum penalty of five years.

Court records indicate that Moore plans to enter an unspecified plea on April 12 in Albemarle County Circuit Court. He is being represented by the Office of the Public Defender.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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