On May 5, 2001, Gregory A. Moyer said he was going camping before facing a May 10 court date for his felony convictions for taking indecent liberties with two cadets at Fork Union Military Academy. He hasn't been seen since.
A year later, "It's like he disappeared off the face of the earth," says Reed Shields in the Virginia State Police's fugitive division.
Gregory A. Moyer
Moyer, 47, a former eighth-grade science teacher, had a penchant for paddlings-- in the nude-- and for documenting those spankings in diary entries and photographs.
Spankings actually are allowed at Fork Union Military Academy, but they're supposed to be done by the headmaster with the parents' written permission and only while the student is fully clothed. Moyer's spankings violated that policy on all counts.
According to court documents, the spankings began when Moyer offered to paddle a cadet on the buttocks in exchange for not reporting the cadet's demerits. Initially the cadet was clothed, but by February 1994, Moyer began administering the "whacks" on "bare ass," he noted in his diary. He told the cadets the photographs were for "documentation."
Soon the cadet was spanking Moyer's bare buttocks as well, with each event carefully documented in Moyer's diary. For example, Moyer wrote that in disciplining the cadet for smoking, he "made sure to hit different spots so no part of [the cadet]'s ass was left unred." It became a ritual that the person being paddled turned and saluted the paddler after each whack.
That ritual led to other rituals: a secret society complete with an initiation of running the school's cross county track nude. Other activities included nude tree climbing, nude wrestling, a nude Olympics, and Moyer tying up a cadet on a crossbar in his apartment, covering his body-- including genitals-- with shaving cream, and hitting him with a newspaper. Moyer, too, would be tied up, covered with shaving cream, and smacked with a paper.
During one shaving cream incident, a minor testified in court that Moyer had an erection at the time. In his diary, Moyer wrote, "The night was fantastic and one that I will never forget."
The escapades couldn't last forever. The nude photographs of two cadets caught the eye of a FUMA official who had gone into Moyer's on-campus apartment to check for a water leak. Academy officials called police, and Moyer was arrested in March 1997.
In the August 1997 trial, Moyer was convicted of 14 counts of taking indecent liberties. Two cadets were involved in the trial; Fluvanna County police investigator Lt. Bill Drumheller suspects others were involved in the incidents.
Moyer admitted that his relationships with the two cadets were "bizarre" and "wrong," but he denied there was any sexual intent. The prosecution, calling the games "sadomasochistic," said Moyer's documentation was "self-made erotica." Moyer was sentenced to 25 years in prison, all but three and a half years suspended.
He appealed the case. In October 1999, a three-judge appeals panel ordered a new trial on the grounds that even with a search warrant the use of Moyer's diaries violated his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination, and that buttocks weren't sexual parts as defined in the Virginia legal code.
A further appeal in July 2000 upheld the original trial judge.
The weirdness doesn't end there. The family of one of the cadets posted a $50,000 bond for Moyer and let him live with them while appealing the case. When Moyer absconded, the family paid up with a certified check for $50,000, "and seemed happy to do it," according to Fluvanna Commonwealth's Attorney Jeffrey Haislip.
The Hookspoke to the cadet's father, who owns an insurance company in Richmond. Because the boy was a minor at the time Moyer was spanking him, the father's name is withheld to protect the identity of the former cadet.
"I've heard nothing at all from [Moyer]," says the father. "I don't know where he is, and I don't expect to hear from him." He pauses, "I wish I did know."
So how does it feel to be fleeced by a man you trusted and took into your home? "Pretty much like what you think it would feel like-- not a good feeling," he says. "He was a friend. It was one of life's lessons.... It hurt."
However, the father says he'd do it again, and Moyer's photographs and diaries detailing beatings of his son "didn't change my opinion one iota. I don't think he did what they said."
"Greg is certainly eccentric," adds his supporter. "There's no question he used poor judgment."
The man's son testified that the spankings were not sexual. So why the nudity? So that it would "hurt more," answers the boy.
The other cadet wrote in Moyer's journal that Moyer "is trying to introduce me to God" and that he was trying "to give me assistance and guide me through this corrupt, shaky world," according to a Richmond Times-Dispatch report.
The Times-Dispatch also reported that a clinical psychologist for the prosecution, Leigh Hagan, testified that Moyer is "socially awkward and nervous," but not a sociopath. The psychologist said Moyer is impotent and would be placed on the state's sex offender registry. However, Moyer's name did not turn up on a recent check of Virginia's sex offender website.
Also not turning up is any trace of his red Chevy Cavalier with vanity license plate number 94 MLS, a reference to the secret society. Special agent Shields has run the vehicle through all 50 states and come up with nothing.
He also had no luck getting Moyer on America's Most Wanted. "If we can get any information he's left the state, we could get the FBI involved," he says.
So how does a fugitive disappear so totally that there haven't even been any tips on him?
Former fugitive Oscar Junior McCauley escaped in Charlottesville while being transported by Nelson County deputies and was on the lam barely a month before he was captured. Moyer's disappearance without a trace puts him more in the league of suspected abortion clinic/Olympic Games bomber Eric Rudolph, who has been missing since 1998.
"I'd go to a small city and become employed using a fake ID," says Fluvanna investigator Drumheller. He warns that a fugitive would have to live a quiet life and avoid getting stopped by the police.
"I'm concerned he might be somewhere living under another name teaching at a private school," says Shields. He asks that anyone with information about Moyer call 800-552-0962.
Moyer's family in Pennsylvania told Shields they haven't heard from him and there authorities say he has not applied for a passport. Both law enforcement officers and his supporter in Richmond agree that Moyer's intelligence is an asset.
"I think when he left he knew exactly what he was doing," says the man who bet-- and lost-- $50,000 on Moyer.
HAVE YOU BEEN
TO THE NEWSROOM?
See "Spanking Can Be Sexual Abuse" at
Return to this Newsroom date
Select other Newsroom date range
Return to Project NoSpank Table of Contents at www.nospank.net