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Sapphire man sentenced to 50 years in prison for sex offenses

A 68-year-old Sapphire man was sentenced to almost 50 years in prison after pleading guilty in Transylvania County Superior Court on Monday to multiple counts of first-degree sex offense with a child and to indecent liberties with a child, District Attorney Greg Newman announced.

Judge Gregory Horne sentenced Charles Clayton Moore, to 49 years, 6 months in prison after the guilty plea. Assistant District Attorney Beth Dierauf presented the facts of the case to the judge and the evidence is that Moore committed various sex acts with at least five of his grandchildren from 1999 through 2011.  Most of the children ranged in ages from 3 to 8.  The sex offenses included incidents of oral sex and multiple occurrences of sexual contact where the defendant touched the children and had them touch him.  Most of these crimes occurred in the defendant’s home when the grandchildren spent time there.

Several persons from the community, as well as the defendant’s family, read prepared statements to the court.  Some advocated mercy for Moore, while others asked for stringent penalties.  The defendant apologized to his family and made a short plea to the court for leniency.  The District Attorney asked for a sentence that would guarantee the defendant never gets out of prison. 

“Mr. Moore hurt a lot of people and I fear that much of the harm to his grandchildren may leave permanent scars,” Newman said.  “We are satisfied with the sentence imposed by Judge Horne.  Certainly the community, and definitely the defendant’s family, are safer now.  Mr. Moore will spend the rest of his life in a North Carolina prison.  I hope his family, and in particular the child victims, can find a way to cope with what they have experienced."

The case was investigated by the office of Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney.  After an initial disclosure was made by one of the grandchildren during the summer of 2017, Moore contacted the sheriff’s department and disclosed, in general terms, that he had committed crimes against members of his family.   He agreed to meet at the sheriff’s office with his pastor where he confessed to his crimes.  Detectives Geoff Bishop and Wade Abram conducted the interviews of the defendant, the victims, and their parents.

“My office will continue to aggressively prosecute persons who abuse children in any manner,” Newman said.  “A community’s strength is measured by the respect for the rule of law and by how well it protects its most vulnerable citizens.  Our kids have to be protected and I appreciate the cooperation of the victims, their parents and other relatives, and certainly our law enforcement officers in the successful outcome in this very tragic episode."