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Former Salvation Army leader admits to viewing content of children being sexually abused

The federal courthouse in Rapid City
The federal courthouse in Rapid City.

A former South Dakota Salvation Army leader has admitted to viewing photos and videos of children and infants being sexually abused.

Javier Moreno admitted his behavior in a factual basis document and is scheduled to plead guilty to receiving child pornography. He will appear in federal court Wednesday in Rapid City.

Moreno, 41, faces a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison and a maximum sentence of 20 years. He would have to register as a sex offender and forfeit 46 electronic devices ranging from flash drives to laptops. Moreno would also have to pay at least $3,000 in restitution to each victim that might be identified.

Moreno was a captain and the Black Hills Area coordinator of the Salvation Army. He lived at a church camp near Rapid City.

The Salvation Army, an international Christian church and charitable organization, fired Moreno when he was arrested in May.

What follows is from the factual basis document that Moreno signed.

The investigation began in April when Kik Messenger told the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that it detected child sexual exploitation materials on its app.

The tip was shared with Pennington County law enforcement, which linked the material to Moreno's Kik account. Investigators learned the material was uploaded from the Salvation Army camp using Moreno's work phone.

Kik also shared Moreno's account with law enforcement, who found more than 10,000 illicit photos and videos.

Law enforcement searched Moreno's home at the camp and seized his electronic devices. Moreno was arrested and confessed to viewing, distributing and receiving sexual gratification from the exploitation materials since the early 2020s.

Arielle Zionts, rural health care correspondent, is based in South Dakota. She primarily covers South Dakota and its neighboring states and tribal nations. Arielle previously worked at South Dakota Public Broadcasting, where she reported on business and economic development.