A formal grand jury indictment was filed Friday in federal court in Little Rock charging Arkansas political consultant Harold "H.L." Moody Jr. with six child pornography charges.
Moody, 37, was arrested Monday night on a criminal complaint that was filed Nov. 2 and unsealed Tuesday. A complaint is used to charge someone until a grand jury can review the case and decide whether to formally indict the person.
The complaint accused Moody, former chairman of the Pulaski County Democratic Party for two years and communications director for the Democratic Party of Arkansas for a year and a half, of using a videoconferencing application to view and share videos of adults raping children.
Moody had been a special events coordinator for Pulaski County Youth Services since February 2017, after he left the Democratic Party of Arkansas. He was working for the county at the time he was charged and was fired as a result, according to a spokesman for the county.
The spokesman noted that Moody's job was "strictly an administrative position" and that he didn't interact with children as part of his work.
An indictment handed up Thursday and filed Friday levels six charges against Moody: two counts of receipt of child pornography, both on Aug. 29; three counts of distribution of child pornography, on Sept. 7, Sept. 9 and Oct. 15; and a single count of conspiring with others between Aug. 29 and Oct. 12 to advertise child pornography to buy, sell or exchange.
The indictment on which Moody will be arraigned Nov. 27 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Joe Volpe doesn't go into detail about the charges.
However, an affidavit supporting the criminal complaint laid out probable cause for his arrest.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Cody Hiland and Jere T. Miles, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations' New Orleans Division, an undercover investigation into child exploitation chat rooms led federal agents to discover Moody. The agents observed him in the chat rooms at least five times, the officials said.
The affidavit said that on Aug. 29 agents saw Moody through his webcam in a chat room when child pornography was being displayed. It said his face was clearly visible and he appeared to be in an office. Later that same day, he was again observed in the same chat room while in the same office, it said.
An investigator wrote that on Sept. 7, Moody was seen on camera distributing child pornography, including a video of an adult male performing oral sex on two pre-pubescent males. The complaint said he followed the video with a message to all participants of the chat room saying, "not the version i thought."
When another user asked Moody to play more videos, he responded, "I do not play on demand," according to the affidavit.
It says he was again in the chat room distributing child pornography Sept. 9 and Oct. 12.
The affidavit didn't indicate whether Moody was visiting the chat rooms from his county office, or where the office was. The officials said that federal law enforcement officers briefed the county Monday afternoon and they decided to fire him immediately.
His job involved planning fundraisers, such as a Champions of Youth event last month, according to county spokesman Cozetta Jones.
His personnel file, which was provided by the county in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, shows that while in college, from 2010 until 2014, he served as an intern for the Democratic Party of Arkansas, where he worked on "party building and fundraising events."
It shows he was chairman of the county party from 2015 until 2017, and then worked as communications director for the state party from July 2015 until he was hired by the county.
His Facebook page indicates he was also the campaign manager for Tippi McCullough of Little Rock, who is poised to represent Arkansas House District 33 after winning a primary and facing no opponent in the general election.
Moody's personnel file at the county shows he was given a raise five months after he started, with his supervisor noting in a memo that he was "exceptionally well-qualified."
If convicted of distribution of child pornography, Moody faces five to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.
Information for this article was contributed by Eric Besson of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Metro on 11/10/2018