YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A Navy chief petty officer charged with performing sex acts on his girlfriend’s 8-year-old daughter was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault and sentenced to six years in prison at a Yokosuka court-martial Saturday.
The six-member jury found Chief Petty Officer Thomas Christopher Moore, 41, an aviation ordnanceman at Naval Air Facility Atsugi, guilty of indecent acts on five separate counts, including the aggravated sexual assault of a child.
Moore also was found guilty on three counts of making a false official statement, as well as for disrespect toward a commissioned officer and four counts of insubordinate conduct toward a petty officer for a separate incident at Atsugi’s enlisted club.
The jury reduced Moore’s pay grade to E-1 and sentenced him to a dishonorable discharge, meaning he will not receive any of the retirement benefits he would have accrued after 21 years of service.
On Jan. 9, 2011, Moore encouraged his Japanese girlfriend to pick up lunch at the Atsugi base McDonald’s, according to testimony during the six-day trial. Her daughter remained at Moore’s residence in the bachelor officer quarters, according to testimony.
When the mother returned about 20 minutes later, she found her daughter crying on Moore’s couch, the mother testified.
The child described to her mother the sex acts Moore performed on her, as well as the pornographic clips on his computer that she said he forced her to watch, the mother testified.
The mother and Moore, who had been dating for eight months, argued for hours over what the child described. Moore had only met her daughter the day before, when they all went to Tokyo Disneyland together, according to testimony.
“I never touched that kid, there’s no (expletive) way in hell,” Moore said in a recording played during the defense’s opening argument.
He also said the girl accidentally saw the two pornographic videos on his computer, and must have believed that what she saw in those videos happened to her.
Prosecutor Lt. Benjamin Garcia told the jury not to believe Moore’s “lies and outlandish alibies.”
“In a few moments, he stole a piece of [the girl’s] childhood away,” Garcia said.
Moore did not take the stand during the proceedings. His fist propped up his chin and his face remained expressionless for most of the trial, even as the mother described her daughter’s trouble sleeping since that day.
“Most of the time, she woke up screaming, fighting,” the mother said, crying. “After one year it seems a little better, but she still won’t even sleep in the dark.
“I feel like I’m not the mother I’m supposed to be. I feel like I failed her,” the mother said.
Following the verdict, Moore gave a statement. “I am broken and ashamed of myself,” Moore said, sobbing.
Moore apologized to the mother, daughter, the Navy and his own family. He acknowledged he had emotionally damaged the daughter, though he did not admit to assault.
Moore, of Wilson, N.C., faced a maximum sentence of 79 years in prison. He will likely be required to register as a sex offender upon release from prison.
Depending on the rules of the prison he enters, Moore could also lose all access to his four children, including phone and mail correspondence, Navy officials said.