Former San Francisco bar owner sentenced to 7 years for receiving 30+ lewd videos from 9-year-old girl

SAN FRANCISCO — A 39-year-old man has been sentenced to seven years in prison for receiving dozens of lewd videos from a 9-year-old girl, who prosecutors say he referred to as his “girlfriend” and threatened to expose when she tried to cut him off.

James Moran, of Reno, was sentenced last month after pleading guilty to receipt of child pornography. In a sentencing memo, prosecutors asked for a prison term of 11 years and eight months, writing that Moran had possessed thousands of additional downloaded child pornography files, and threatened the 9-year-old victim that “I will send all ur (sic) nudes to your dad” when she told him she was through sending lewd videos of herself to him.

The girl and Moran met on social media. Prosecutors say it was Moran’s modus operandi to pose as a young boy and ask for explicit content, adding that he did so with several other users who identified themselves as minors. During chats with the 9-year-old, Moran allegedly told her he loved her and referred to her as his girlfriend.

Moran, who now works at a tap house in Reno, was a onetime co-owner of The Royale bar in San Francisco, but his business partners forced him out after learning of his arrest in 2021, according to court records.

His new boss at the Reno tap house wrote a support letter saying Moran was “not himself” and “mistakes Jimi made in relation to this case, I assure you he did so unknowingly and under extreme stress.” Prosecutors, though, say the girl told Moran her age and he continued to pursue her. The crime was discovered after the girl informed her parents what was going on.

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In a defense sentencing memo, Moran’s lawyer cited a doctor’s report that concluded Moran’s crime “was the result of a ‘temporary state’ rather than a ‘long-term sexual interest.’” The memo cites Moran’s abusive childhood, drug addiction, and recent loss of his mother as contributing factors.

“A longer prison sentence is not needed to ensure Mr. Moran does not commit another crime or receive or possess child pornography again,” Moran’s lawyer, Julia Jayne, wrote in the memo. “His excellent performance on pretrial release over the last 28 months, which includes mental health counseling, demonstrates that he has learned his lesson from this ordeal. He has not possessed child pornography in years.”

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