PENNSYLVANIA MAN GETS 35 YEARS FOR SEX CRIMES WITH MARTINSVILLE TEEN VIA FACEBOOK
December 7, 2020
A Pennsylvania man who pleaded guilty to sex-related charges involving a 16-year-old girl from Martinsville was sentenced to 35 years in prison Monday during an emotional court hearing when his mother pleaded for leniency.
Cody Daniel Moore, 28, of Carlisle, Pa., appeared before Martinsville Circuit Court Judge G. Carter Greer handcuffed, shackled and wearing an orange inmate suit, to face sentencing on a negotiated plea.
“So this will be a guilty plea,” Greer said.
Martinsville Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Paula Bowen told Greer her office had agreed to drop three charges of proposing sex by computer to a juvenile 15 or older in exchange for guilty pleas on a single charge of proposing sex by computer to a juvenile 15 or older, proposing sex by computer to a juvenile 15 or older-second offense, possession of child pornography and possession of child pornography-second offense.
“We’ve spoken with her [the girl’s] family, and they are satisfied,” Bowen said.
After nearly two hours of testimony, Greer then sentenced Moore to 35 years in prison and suspended 33 of those years, leaving Moore with a 2-year active sentence.
Moore has already served almost 9 months in jail in Pennsylvania and Martinsville, leaving him with just more than 15 months before being released.
Court records on file show the Martinsville Police Department was alerted on Feb. 4 with a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children about a Martinsville juvenile who had been asked for nude photos by an adult male.
The Martinsville Bulletin does not publish the names of victims or alleged victims of sex-related crimes.
Search warrants were obtained, and hundreds of pages of Facebook texts between Moore and the 16-year-old Martinsville girl revealed sexually explicit photos of Moore and the girl were shared with each other and that the two had engaged in sexually explicit conversation by text.
Warrants were issued for Moore’s arrest, and on March 18 he was taken into custody in Pennsylvania by Martinsville investigators, records show.
During most of the remainder of the court session Moore’s attorney, Daniel Galyon, presented the circumstances surrounding his client’s actions, including emotional insights from Galyon’s mother.
“It was all over Facebook, but they never met up,” Galyon said. “She sent photos unprompted—there was no force involved.”
Galyon said the girl’s mother’s statement corroborated his story and that the girl’s family was not worried about further abuse by Moore.
“He [Moore] should have known better, but her daughter was also involved,” Galyon said.
Martinsville Sgt. Chris Boblett traveled to Pennsylvania, where he found Moore working with a road crew for Flagger Force.
Galyon said Boblett asked Moore to speak with him, and Moore cooperated, leaving his job and talking to Boblett in Boblett’s unmarked car for about two hours. Boblett arrested Moore later that day.
Moore’s mother was called to the stand and told Greer she had left her home in Carlisle at 2:30 a.m. in order to be in Martinsville for her son’s trial at 9.
Moore sobbed briefly when his mother described how much his family cared for him and missed him.
She described her son as having a mental disability and being depressed with fits of anxiety. She said Moore never had been diagnosed with depression until he landed in the Martinsville City Jail, and once he began taking prescribed medication for the condition, his personality has changed.
“It’s made a big difference,” she said.
She said the Facebook texts between her son and the Martinsville girl took place during a period of about two months when Moore left home and moved in with an alcoholic uncle who lived nearby.
“It was a big mistake at a dark time in his life,” she said. “He would have never done what he did if he had still been living at home.”
Galyon described his client as a “27-or-28-year-old man with a mind much younger” and a “victim who was 16” who may have come across much more mature on Facebook.
Bowen countered Galyon by saying that the girl who befriended Moore on Facebook has been “closed up, withdrawn and harder to communicate” since the experience.
Moore waived a pre-sentence report, so Greer called for a 10-minute recess to consider sentencing.
When Greer returned, he noted that Moore had no criminal history except a misdemeanor theft and recognized the mitigating factors presented by Galyon, but he also said he considered Galyon’s defense as an attempt to blame the victim.
“The girl was 16, and he [Moore] contacted her on Facebook,” Greer said. “He was 27 at the time and clearly knew what he was doing.”
Greer said a 16-year-old girl sending a 27-year-old man nude photos without him asking did not excuse Moore’s behavior.
“These contacts have had an impact on the child,” Greer said.
Message from Executive Director Laura A. Ahearn: Please visit our website at www.crimevictimscenter.org for news, information and resources in your community.