Caring for the victim speaks volumes in case closure

  • Published
  • By Wayne Amann
  • OSI Public Affairs

A North Carolina man was sentenced Aug. 4, 2021, to 420 months, or 35 years, in prison followed by 10 years of supervised release for enticing and sexually abusing a minor.


Emilio Moran, 39, of Jacksonville, N.C., pleaded guilty on Aug. 17, 2020, to sexual abuse of a minor and enticement of a minor to engage in unlawful sexual activity.


According to information presented at the sentencing, Moran enticed the 14 year old victim to engage in a prolonged sexual relationship while he was a Marine Corps contractor at Okinawa, Japan. Moran used text messages and gifts to entice the minor into the illicit sexual relationship, and he took cellphone videos of some of the sexual abuse. Moran also encouraged the minor to destroy evidence in the case.


The severity of the sentence, and the egregious nature of the offenses, belies the caring treatment employed by Office of Special Investigations Special Agents, led by SA Raylynn Francois of OSI Detachment 624, Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan, to gain the trust and confidence of the victim throughout the 13-month investigation. 


As the lead agency, OSI teamed with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) to address the case.


Through law enforcement checks, OSI learned Moran was investigated seven times throughout his active duty career in the Marine Corps, before receiving a Bad Conduct Discharge from the Marines for dereliction of duty and adultery.


OSI opened its investigation based on Moran’s history and because the victim’s father expressed, “they had nowhere else to go.”   


The victim provided many details during her interview – all of which OSI was able to corroborate.


The Department of Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory review of the victim's phone discovered thousands of messages between the victim and Moran. These included pictures and videos of them, some sexually explicit. The messages and the various complexities of this case, evolving over time, depicted just how manipulative Moran was.


After the Det. 624 investigation concluded, the Assistant United States Attorney coordinated with HSI in Wilmington, N.C., to have local law enforcement pursue an arrest warrant on Moran. 


“I worked with HSI and provided them with the case information,” SA Francois explained. “The HSI agent obtained the arrest warrant and then I flew to North Carolina, where I met with HSI and NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) from Camp Lejeune. Collectively, we executed Moran’s arrest and interview on Dec.16, 2019. Following the interview, we released him to the U.S. Marshalls in New Bern, N.C.”


SA Francois’ handling of this complex case drew rave reviews from Det. 624 leadership.


“Raye and her colleagues went way above and beyond to help put the troubled and traumatized victim on the right path toward a very bright future, and went a long way toward helping the entire family recover from this offender’s actions,” said Det. 624 Special Agent in Charge Kyle McArthur. “Lots of folks touched it, but this is a career case for you, Raye, one you should always be very proud of. I could not be more proud of you! I’m very glad I got to send you to put the cuffs on him personally!”


“Your tenacity and ingenuity to get her to share the atrocities she experienced was exemplary," said Det. 624 Superintendent, SA Dustin McLeod. "This story showcases the lessons our agents learn through the (OSI) Academy from our behavioral specialists about what predatory and grooming behaviors look like. It truly takes a village.” 


“You cannot begin to understand how excited I am at the results of this investigation. The heavy lifting done on this case should be used as a case study for OSI. The non-traditional methods used, the hurdles that were overcome, and your interaction with the survivor and her family is a testament of your professionalism, dedication, and empathy,” said Det. 624 alum SA Michael Christmas. “I can remember how the relationship grew to a point that the survivor and her family had total trust in what the team was attempting to accomplish.  This will be a case that is talked about for a long time.”


SA Francois’ reaction was equally gratifying.


“It’s nice to see a major win for our side and some real justice handed to (Moran),” she said. “I spoke with the prosecutor, the victim, and the victim’s mother, all of whom are happy and thankful for the investigation we completed, which led to this sentencing. Amazing job everyone!”


This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.


Notably, SA Francois’ relationship with the victim and her parents developed into a friendship following the investigation.   


“I still have a relationship with the victim and her parents to this day, we talk on a weekly basis,” SA Francois said. “The victim is doing great and is preparing to attend college this year. She did express concerns about how will she trust someone in the future and how will she be able to tell people about what she endured. I told her that together, she and I would cross that bridge when we came to it.”


Editor’s Note: The Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs contributed to this article.