SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A convicted sex offender who displayed a sign saying "free fentanyl for new users" at his encampment across from a Catholic grade school in San Francisco was taken into custody on Thursday as his "public nuisance" case moves forward.
San Francisco District Attorney Brooke Jenkins told the ABC7 News I-Team's Dan Noyes, "We believe that he presented a public safety risk that necessitated him being in custody while this case is open."
In San Francisco Superior Court, 46-year-old Joseph Adam Moore gave our camera an extended one-finger greeting. He's facing charges of "Obstructing Free and Comfortable Use of Liberty and Property" or being a public nuisance.
The convicted child molester set up camp across the street from a Catholic grade school in the Richmond District more than a year ago and recently posted a sign "Free Fentanyl for New Users."
His attorney, Erica Franklin, tells us that sign is why Moore came to the attention of authorities. "There is a First Amendment issue to the signs," she says. "It's not like anybody actually saw him giving meth or fentanyl to anybody. He doesn't, he didn't have any meth or fentanyl on him."
Two weeks ago, Noyes asked Moore, "Were you giving away fentanyl? Was that just a joke?"
He answered, "No, it's not a joke."
Moore told us that unhoused people sometimes gave him fentanyl in exchange for blankets or food and that he passed the drugs on to other homeless people who wanted them.
Moore recently had a confrontation with a parent from the school and now faces a misdemeanor battery charge for that. He is also under probation after firefighters in Station 31 got a restraining order against him. The prosecution asked the court to keep Moore in custody while his case moved forward.
Brooke Jenkins told the I-Team, "We're dealing with an individual who, obviously is a registered sex offender, who has now violated the law in multiple ways, and is really causing an issue near a school with young children. And so we want to be very mindful of the surroundings of where his conduct occurred and make sure that we are keeping the community safe."
Judge Vedia Puri granted the request, saying, "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."
Moore's attorney tells us, the two charges he faces are normally "cite and release" and that nothing would have happened if Moore had set up camp and posted his signs in the Tenderloin.
"And this guy is annoying, because he moves around this particular area a lot," Erica Franklin said. "And he's annoyed quite a few people. And I feel like because of that reason, because it's sort of an isolated area of San Francisco, that he's being treated differently."
Moore has a bail hearing next week where his attorney will try to make the case that he should be released, while his case moves through the courts.
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