Porn images lead to suspension of Chattanooga Fire Department training chief

Porn images lead to suspension of Chattanooga Fire Department training chief

September 24th, 2011 by Beth Burger in News

Training Chief Mack Moore

Photo by Tim Barber/Times Free Press.

A Chattanooga Fire Department training chief received a 10-day suspension after investigators searched his city computer and found six pornographic images that were sent to his email account.

Investigators discovered the images while they looked into a woman's allegations of sexual battery, fire department officials said Friday.

Mack Moore, a 24-year fire department veteran, will serve the unpaid suspension within a month. He did not return a message left on his cell phone Friday night.

The woman's original complaint against Moore was not sustained by the Chattanooga Police Department. The police department was asked to look into any questions of criminal wrongdoing, as well as conduct an internal affairs investigation, because of Moore's high rank within the fire department.

Fire officials use the information developed in the police investigation to decide whether departmental rules were broken. The report does not specify a finding.

"As a result of that [investigation], there was evidence of images and things on the computer that were inappropriate," Chattanooga Fire Chief Randy Parker said. "What he was disciplined for was a computer-use policy."

Moore used his city computer to view pornographic material 19 times, according to the investigation.

Parker said the 10-day suspension is "fairly serious."

"It's 10 days without pay and a management referral for employee assistance," he said. "If anything is revealed, [if] they say he's not fit to work or [has] got some issues, we'll deal with them then. He's also got a last-chance agreement that if he has any other incident that would be similar to this in nature, it would be a terminating offense."

Parker declined to release a copy of the last-chance agreement, saying he would have to consult with attorneys.

The woman who made the sexual battery allegation stated that Moore came on to her at her mother's residence and physically advanced on her. She said he made comments infused with religious references, such as "God is sovereign and we have to bend to his will," and told her not to "deny the passion."

In interviews with an internal affairs investigator at the Chattanooga Police Department, Moore denied any inappropriate behavior and stated he loved the girl like a daughter. He also dates the woman's mother occasionally, according to the report.

According to police department Investigator Sarah Moody, Moore said, "All I know is God is my witness. I did not make sexual advances to that young lady."

Then, Moody said, "I replied to Chief Moore that unfortunately God was the only witness."

The woman declined to file criminal charges against Moore because she lives in California and would not be able to come to court, the report states.

At least four complaints have been lodged against Moore, records show.

He was also questioned about his relationship with a female subordinate whom he texts her.

A text on July 14 read, "We can[not] hide, control, or deny the love that God has given us for one another but if it [is] truly from God it will never die."

The former subordinate said she texted back not to send her texts like that again.

When Moore was questioned about the text, he said he sent it to several people, but understood how it could be perceived as a come-on.

The former subordinate complained to fire officials in 2004 about an alleged confrontation with Moore while she was out with another man.

"He left, and tried to let the air out of my tires," the woman said in the report. He also threatened her job, the report stated.

Moore, then a captain, was cited for "inappropriate behavior" and given an oral reprimand. Later the same year, Moore was given a day off without pay for an inappropriate behavior with a cadet, according to records.

"Due to the lack of documentation it is difficult to determine the specifics of each allegation," investigator Moody wrote.

When Parker was questioned about the lack of records, he said, "We did look [for records.] I don't know of anything else that's available."

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