A Ferguson man is facing 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to child abuse charges in order to avoid trial.
Pascal Jed Moore, 35, pleaded guilty last week in Pulaski Circuit Court to two counts of first-degree sodomy, two counts of first-degree sexual abuse; and three counts of first-degree criminal abuse.
According to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney David L. Dalton, who is prosecuting the case, the Kentucky State Police and DCBS (Department of Community-Based Services) began an investigation in July 2018 into allegations that Moore had physically and sexually abused three minor children on multiple occasions between 2010 and 2012.
The allegations were made years after the fact, Dalton said, and Kentucky State Police - led by Trooper Richie Baxter - worked to corroborate them as much as possible given the gap in years. With all other means of investigation exhausted, KSP picked Moore up for questioning in January 2019.
During multiple interviews with Detective Eric Moore and Trp. Baxter, Dalton said, Moore gave a variety of explanations and denials before ultimately admitting to some of the children's allegations. Following these statements, Moore was indicted by the Pulaski County Grand Jury on a total of 11 sexual and abuse offenses.
Moore unsuccessfully attempted to suppress his statements as the case wended it way through court. A May 18 trial date was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With the agreement of the victims and approval from Commonwealth's Attorney Eddy Montgomery, Dalton offered to dismiss some counts in exchange for Moore's guilty plea. In open court, Dalton said, Moore finally admitted that he had committed first-degree sodomy and first-degree sexual abuse against two children, and criminally abused all three.
The prosecutor is recommending a sentence of 30 years in prison.
Because they are classified as violent offenses, according to Dalton, Moore would not become eligible for parole until he has served at least 20 full years of his sentence. Should he be released, Moore would also be subject to lifetime registration as a sex offender as well as five years of conditional discharge (supervision) following his sentence.
Pulaski Circuit Judge Jeffrey Burdette accepted the plea agreement on November 5 and scheduled formal sentencing for February 4. Dalton noted the lengthy delay was due to the time needed to conduct the mandatory sex offender evaluation.
Dalton praised the courage of the young victims in this case and their family.
"It is unimaginable for children to carry this burden," he said, "but these kids and their family showed courage to help bring this man to justice."
Dalton also thanked KSP -- especially Trp. Baxter -- for taking an essentially cold case and bringing it life.
"This case was six years old - with scant evidence on hand," he continued. "Richie did a great job bringing it all together. These cases are never easy but the KSP were complete professionals in this prosecution."
Montgomery praised Dalton, who stated he was glad the children would not have to relive the case in front of a jury, for his handling of the prosecution.
"The kids have been through enough," Dalton said. "The family and I agreed that 30 years in prison was worth not having to put the children on the witness stand. Hopefully, the family can now start to put this nightmare behind them and move forward."