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San Francisco homeless man who made ‘free fentanyl’ signs is jailed

A man sits near the sidewalk.
Joseph Adam Moore sits on Ninth Avenue near Geary Boulevard on Oct. 23. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

A homeless man and convicted child molester who camped near a San Francisco school with signs saying "free fentanyl 4 new users" was booked into jail Thursday, records show.

"We believe that he presented a public safety risk that necessitated him being in custody while this case is open," District Attorney Brooke Jenkins told ABC7 Bay Area.

Jenkins announced on Oct. 26 that Moore would face multiple criminal charges.

San Francisco Superior Court judge Vedica Puri granted the DA's request.

"While this city is extraordinarily empathetic to its unhoused, we offer untold amounts of services; there is a limit. So, when there's a public nuisance issue, this court has to take it seriously," Puri said, according to ABC7 Bay Area reported.

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Joseph Adam Moore was arrested by police around on Oct. 20 after he refused to remove his belongings and leave the area by 12:15 p.m. | Source: Garrett Leahy/The Standard

Jail records show Moore was booked into jail on Thursday around 11 a.m. on a $35,000 bond and is due in court next on Nov. 8.

Moore was booked on one misdemeanor charge of contempt of a court order, battery, and "obstructing free and comfortable use of liberty and property," jail records show.

Moore's attorney, Erica Franklin, said in an email that Moore is being charged with misdemeanor battery and maintaining a public nuisance through the use and/or placement of his tent. Franklin said her client is not being charged with contempt of a court order but is on misdemeanor probation for violating a restraining order to prevent him from straying on the property of the San Francisco Fire Department.

San Francisco police had previously said Moore was subject to a stay away order from the fire department after he created a nuisance by camping behind a San Francisco firehouse.

Franklin said she is moving to dismiss the public nuisance charge against Moore.

"The [public nuisance charge] is an unconstitutional attempt to get him to leave the neighborhood, as they were complaints about him, and it is not a valid charge. I will be filing a motion to dismiss it," Franklin said.

Franklin told ABC7 the signs Moore posted outside his encampment is why Moore came to the attention of authorities.

"It's not like anybody actually saw him giving meth or fentanyl to anybody," Franklin told the news outlet. “He doesn't; he didn't have any meth or fentanyl on him.”

Police confirmed Moore was arrested for battery after throwing liquid on someone before getting into an altercation with them on Oct. 19. A day later, Moore told The Standard he had been punched in the face by a parent from the Stella Maris Academy. Police then arrested him.

ABC7's Dan Noyes reports Moore poured a gallon jug of apple juice over a parent before the parent hit him.

Franklin said Moore's battery charge is from a battery committed by a man against Mr. Moore, who was punched in the face.

"Mr. Moore was minding his own business and this man came over and tried to remove his signs and threatened to burn his property. The police refused to arrest this other man and arrested Mr Moore instead," Franklin said.

Stella Maris is a K-8 Catholic school directly across the street from where Moore camped at Ninth Avenue and Geary Boulevard.

Signs reading "Meth for stolen items" and "free fentanyl for new users" sit atop Joseph Adam Moore's encampment on Ninth Avenue north of Geary Boulevard in San Francisco's Inner Richmond neighborhood.
Signs reading "meth for stolen items" and "free fentanyl 4 new users" are displayed at Joseph Adam Moore's encampment in San Francisco's Inner Richmond neighborhood on Oct. 17. | Source: George Kelly/The Standard

San Francisco Archdiocese spokesperson Peter Marlow said the religious organization is following Moore's case closely.

"We want to make sure children and families are safe, reach out to the homeless, and support a solution from the city that will achieve both of those goals," Marlow said.

Convicted Pedophile

California’s Megan’s Law website lists Moore as a San Francisco transient convicted of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age in 1997 and released from prison in 2002. San Francisco Superior Court documents show Moore has been arrested five times in the city since 2007 for allegedly failing to re-register his address as a sex offender every 30 days. 

A Santa Cruz Sentinel article from 1997 reports Moore was convicted of molesting a 12-year-old girl in Santa Clara County before being released from custody and then having sex with a 15-year-old in Santa Cruz behind a set of bathrooms on Seabright Beach.

Garrett Leahy can be reached at garrett@sfstandard.com