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Sexting arrest latest embarrassment for US Secret Service

13 November 2015, 18:06

Delaware - The arrest of a uniformed U.S. Secret Service officer on charges of trying to solicit a teenage girl for sex and sending obscene images and texts online is the latest embarrassment for the agency charged with protecting the president and his family.

Lee Robert Moore, 37, was to appear at a preliminary hearing Friday in Delaware on state charges of sexual solicitation of a child under 18 and providing obscene material to a person under 18. He is charged separately in federal court with attempted transfer of obscene material to a minor.

Also read: No regrets for gay priest sacked by Vatican

Moore surrendered to authorities on Monday after being caught in an undercover online sex sting by Delaware State Police.

The federal agency has had a series of scandals stretching back to 2012, when more than a dozen agents and officers were implicated in a South American prostitution scandal. Since then, multiple agents and officers have been accused of wrongdoing. Former agency director Julia Pierson was ousted last year after the disclosure of two security breaches, including an incident in which a man with a knife climbed a White House fence and ran into the executive mansion.

According to a complaint unsealed in federal court Thursday, Moore often engaged in online chats while on duty at the White House, once asking an undercover officer who he thought was a 14-year-old girl to send him something "exciting" on a day when he was checking IDs for a building entrance and complained that "work sucks today."

It was not immediately clear whether Moore has hired an attorney.

"The Secret Service takes allegations of potential criminal activity extremely seriously," the agency said in a statement Thursday. The Secret Service said Moore's security clearance was suspended on Nov. 6, the same day the matter was reported to its Office of Professional Responsibility.

- AP


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