Over and over, a longtime Toledo police officer denied Wednesday that he ever had sex with a minor, that he ever paid a 14-year-old girl for sex.
Michael E. Moore, Sr., 45, of the 4200 block of Circleview Drive took the witness stand in Lucas County Common Pleas Court, trying to convince a jury that he thought the alleged victim was 19, that she seemed to know a lot about what was going on in the streets, and that he thought he might groom her to be a confidential informant for police.
Mr. Moore also said he at times gave her money but insisted it wasn't for sex.
“Did you ever have sexual relations with [her] at the Rugby apartment?” defense attorney Lorin Zaner asked.
“No. Never had sex with her at all,” Mr. Moore replied.
The jury, which is to resume deliberations at 9 a.m. Thursday, deliberated just over an hour Wednesday before going home at 5 p.m.
On Tuesday, the now-16-year-old girl testified that she'd had sex with Mr. Moore, a vice-narcotics detective, first at a local motel for $50 and then at a Rugby Drive apartment for $20.
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She did not deny that in November, 2016, she tried to extort money from him by telling him she was pregnant and needed money for an abortion. She threatened to go to the police and report what he'd been doing with her if he did not give her the money.
Mr. Moore told the jury that while he knew he did not get her pregnant, he agreed to pay her because he was up for a promotion and didn't want her accusations to hurt his opportunity for advancement. The girl testified that she was not really pregnant and said she just wanted the money.
Frank Spryszak, an assistant county prosecutor, asked Mr. Moore why he didn't go to his superiors and report the extortion plot.
“Did you believe you were the victim of a crime that day?” Mr. Spryszak asked.
“Yes,” Mr. Moore replied.
“You're a police officer. Why didn't you arrest her?” Mr. Spryszak asked.
“Didn't think about it,” he said. “Didn't see a need to.”
In closing arguments Wednesday afternoon, Mr. Spryszak said it was telling that Mr. Moore told the girl he couldn't have gotten her pregnant because he'd had a vasectomy.
“If you didn't have sex with the girl, who cares about that medical procedure? Why do those medical records matter? They don't. It's irrelevant. It's nonsense,” Mr. Spryszak said. “The reason why he brought it up is because he was scared. He was scared out of his mind, and that's why he had to pay her off.”
Throughout the three-day trial, Mr. Zaner painted the victim as a liar and a thief who would do anything for money. He minimized incriminating text messages his client sent to Arnecya Talley Moore, a confidential informant who introduced Mr. Moore to the victim.
Talley Moore, who is no relation to Mr. Moore, pleaded guilty Sept. 25 to procuring and soliciting after admitting she arranged meetings between the teen and Mr. Moore. She died of an overdose Oct. 12 shortly after she was released from jail on bond and before she could be sentenced.
Mr. Moore insisted the text messages in which he talked about wanting sex were in jest, that he and Talley Moore routinely joked about such things.
“She knows how I am,” he said. “We joke back and forth.”
He also said he had no reason to doubt that the alleged victim was 19, as she told him she was.
“Did the two of you ever have sexual relations?” Mr. Zaner asked Mr. Moore.
“No,” he replied.
“Did you ever pay her or anyone else to have sexual relations with?” Mr. Zaner asked.
“No,” he said again.
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