Taylor man pleads guilty to statutory sexual assault, other charges

Jan. 24—A Taylor man pleaded guilty Tuesday in Lackawanna County Court to sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl and possessing explicit photos of another teenager.

Michael Paul Moran, 21, of 12 Amherst Park, entered guilty pleas to statutory sexual assault and three other felony counts during a brief virtual appearance before Judge Andy Jarbola.

The offenses potentially carry a penalty of 34 years of imprisonment, and Jarbola told Moran the court could sentence him to consecutive terms on the four charges.

Moran, then 20, was initially arrested by Taylor police in March and charged with having intercourse with a 13-year-old from Scranton on multiple occasions last January and February after telling her he was 16. The girl informed her mother of the assaults after learning his true age, police said.

The Times-Tribune does not identify victims of sexual assault.

County detectives filed additional charges against Moran in April after a search of his cellphone turned up nude photographs of a second girl, 15.

The second teenage girl said she met Moran on Snapchat but denied they had a relationship, investigators said.

In addition to statutory sexual assault, Moran pleaded guilty to unlawful contact with a minor involving the 13-year-old and to possession of child pornography and criminal use of a communication facility for the photos of the 15-year-old.

"You heard those facts. Do you admit those facts?" Jarbola asked Moran after Assistant District Attorney Bo Loughney individually outlined the substance of the four charges.

"Yes, your honor," Moran replied each time.

The judge, who set no date for sentencing, said Moran will undergo a presentence investigation along with an assessment by the state Sexual Offenders Assessment Board. Moran's attorney, Max Lubin, said the defendant is currently receiving treatment at a facility out of state.

Loughney indicated Moran will face registration as a sexual offender for 25 years as a result of the guilty plea.

Contact the writer:

dsingleton@timesshamrock.com, 570-348-9132.