Former Diamondhead Councilman Alan Moran sentenced for soliciting, exploiting a child; family speaks out

March 6, 2024

Originally featured on WLOX.

David Baria of Baria Law represented the family in this case.

Alan Moran, a former Diamondhead councilman, will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life following his sentencing Friday after he pleaded guilty to exploitation/solicitation of a child and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. 

For the child exploitation charge, Moran was sentenced to 15 years in prison, with five years probation.

For contributing to the delinquency of a minor charge, he was sentenced to six months in jail, which was suspended. Instead, he will serve 30 days behind bars in Hancock County jail with probation to follow afterward.

During that time, he is to delete and remain off social media.

In the courtroom Friday, Moran entered in an orange and white inmate jumpsuit. When he sat down, he appeared to look over at the family of the teenager he admitted to soliciting and smiled at them. WLOX News asked the victim’s mother, Raychel Dykes, about that moment.

“That was very hard,” Dykes said. “It was almost like he felt like he had won, but obviously he did not.”

Last Thursday, Moran suddenly pleaded guilty to the two charges just before his jury trial was to begin.

The crimes happened on Valentine’s Day in 2022. At the time, Moran worked for Philip’s Pest Control, a company owned by his father, former state senator Philip Moran.

According to testimony from a Hancock County Sheriff’s Office investigator, Alan Moran reached out to the 17-year-old teenage victim through Snapchat, offered him a job, and then met with him at the pest control office on Old Joe Moran Road.

The two entered a company vehicle to begin training. First, they stopped at Moran’s home to deliver a Valentine’s Day card to his wife.

Then, they stopped at a gas station, where Moran bought a 12-pack of beer, offered one to the victim, then made a proposition. He wanted the teenager to play with a sex toy known as a Flesh Light. In exchange, he would give the teen money and an iPhone.

The victim refused and told investigators that Moran kept touching his legs and genitalia during the drive afterward. During that time, the teen texted his parents and friends for help.

His parents and friends were waiting when the two arrived at a different gas station. According to deputies on scene, Moran ran into the woods and threw out a second cell phone, which was later recovered.

In court Friday, the victim’s mother faced Moran and read this letter:

Through each and every one of your court dates and hearings, I have waited for this day to come. The day you are held accountable for your actions. As a mother, it is my job to protect my children from predators like you. What you did to my son and put him through made me feel as though I had failed my duties and obligations as a mother. You used your position of authority in your father’s company as a vessel to lure children in for your sick and lustful purposes.

You lured my child in with the promises of a job, gave him beer in hopes of getting sexual favors, and you took advantage of his youth. No one will ever know the fear and anxiety we felt when our son managed to get a text to his father as this was going on. As time went on, I began to realize my son was not the first victim but, hopefully, he will be the last. Not only did you lie about your actions for two years, but you told lies about my child and our family. We lived in fear that someone was trying to harm him for being so brave and telling the truth.

The one thing I hold onto is the belief that we, as parents, have an obligation to protect not only our children but all children. For this reason, I will continue to tell Ryan’s story in hopes other children will not be harmed, bribed, nor then shamed into silence. As our lives have been turned upside down, you move on as if you don’t have a care in the world. You have smiled and sneered at us as we seek justice for our son. You have shown no remorse. If you are sorry, it is only because you have been caught.

All in all, I want you to know that you are sitting where you are today by your own actions and because of a brave child who has struggled and fought to come forward. You underestimated a child who was stronger than your monstrous behavior.

“It was tough reading that letter, but it felt good to have a voice,” Dykes told WLOX News after the sentencing. “It was very emotional.”

The Dykes’ family attorney, David Baria, added, “I’ve represented these folks for over a year, and the courage that all of them have shown throughout this process is amazing. I’ve been practicing law for 34 years, and I’ve never had clients who have shown the courage that this family has.”

Before the judge, Moran simply said, “Judge, I’m very sorry for my behavior. I’m very sorry for my actions that led us all here today. I ask that you follow the state’s recommendation, and I will do whatever you want to be done, sir.”