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Former Baltimore prosecutor gets one-year sentence for child pornography charge

Former Baltimore prosecutor gets one-year sentence for child pornography charge
Patrick Moran, 39, was charged with possession and distribution of child pornography. (Baltimore County Police)

A former Baltimore prosecutor was sentenced Wednesday in Baltimore County to one year in jail for distributing child pornography.

Baltimore County Circuit Judge Nancy M. Purpura sentenced Patrick Moran, who previously pleaded guilty to a single count of possession with intent to distribute child pornography.

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Moran, 40, had been an assistant Baltimore state's attorney assigned to the juvenile division.

"I just want to take full responsibility," Moran said in a shaky voice, keeping his head down as he spoke in the Towson courtroom.

Moran apologized to his family and former colleagues at the state's attorney's office, where he worked from 2003 until last October, when he was charged.

He said his position was "a job I was quite proud of."

Prosecutor Perry Wasserman argued that Moran should receive an 18-month sentence. Under Moran's plea agreement, he faced a minimum sentence of between one year and 18 months, but Wasserman said Moran could have faced a minimum of five years had the county referred the case to the federal courts.

"The defendant has received substantial consideration," Wasserman told Purpura.

He asked the judge to consider that "the images were particularly vulgar," depicting children as young as 3 years old involved in sex acts.

The investigation into Moran began with a tip last July to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that a picture had been uploaded to a secure chat program called "Chatstep" from an IP address later connected to Moran's Nottingham address, according to the county state's attorney's office.

Police seized computers and storage devices from the home. Moran also directed them to a storage device in a drawer that contained many images, and police found files depicting children between 3 and 16 years old having sex.

"These are real children … that were having real things done to them. We don't get to know what their life is going to be like because they were subjected to this" and could not testify in court, Wasserman said.

Several family members, including Moran's wife, and two attorneys spoke on his behalf at the hearing. They described him as a fair attorney and loving family man.

Michelle Glenn Weisfeld, who worked with Moran at the city state's attorney's office, spoke of Moran's kindness and empathy.

"I saw Pat handle some of the most difficult cases with integrity," she said.

Jennifer Davis, an attorney with the public defender's office, said that although she went up against Moran in the courtroom, he was "approachable, fair, empathetic," and sought to protect the interests of juveniles and the public.

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Moran's mother, Judy Moran, said he has "always been a good son," and recalled how respectful he was, even as a child.

"He truly cared about other people's feelings," she said.

Amy Moran, his wife, said she never suspected her husband's actions until his arrest.

"To say that I was shocked is a complete understatement," she said.

She said he was a good husband and a good father to their three children, reading to them every night.

"We intend to stand with him through this whole process," she said.

Moran's attorney, Andrew I. Alperstein, argued for a lesser sentence, noting his client's struggles with multiple sclerosis, a condition that worsens with stress.

Moran's physician, Dr. Jerold H. Fleishman, said at the hearing that Moran must continue to receive a shot three times a week and minimize stress while serving his sentence.

Alperstein argued that Moran has already paid for his actions, losing his $94,000-a-year job, his career as an attorney, and his reputation. He said he has heard from many prosecutors and colleagues who support Moran but who didn't want to speak at the hearing for fear of endangering their jobs.

"It's very sad to see somebody who is doing so well professionally, personally, having all these problems," Alperstein said afterward.

Moran was ordered to turn himself in June 14 at the county detention center jail to start serving his sentence.

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