Earlier today, the Empire Wrestling Federation released a statement that they have ended their professional relationship with Mickey Moreno (real name Ryan Moreno), who was a referee and trainer with the promotion, when a past conviction for lewd acts with a minor came to light.
Moreno had been arrested on April 26, 2010, for lewd acts with a minor, sex with a minor under the age of 18 years involving a suspect who is at least 10 years older than the victim stemming from when he worked at Baker Valley High School. The victim was 15 years old. He has been a registered sex offender since 2011.
EWF first learned of the incident on February 17, 2019, when we posted that he was a registered sex offender on a Facebook post and included a link to a news article about the arrest from 2010. Upon learning that Moreno was a registered sex offender, EWF’s Jake Alexander advised us that he immediately confirmed it by checking the Megan’s Law database then attempted to contact Moreno.
Jake Alexander advised SoCalUncensored.com that as soon as he was made aware of the incident, the decision was made to end any involvement with Mickey Moreno and ban him from any future EWF events. He further stated to us that “I have known Mickey for years and this is a total shock. We had no indications that he ever could have done something like this.”
After we posted about Moreno’s status as a registered sex offender, Moreno made a statement on Facebook saying in part “About 10 years ago I made a mistake and had a relationship with a minor. It was not a situation where I attacked anyone or used force. Though it was consensual, it was wrong and illegal. I never lied. I owned up to my mistake and did my time.”
He went on to further say “Please understand I am a different person now and worked hard to make a new meaningful life for myself. I am not providing excuses. I know what I did was wrong. I just ask that everyone see me for who I am now and not my past mistake.”
While a number of people posted replies in support of Moreno’s statement, including EWF promoter Jesse Hernandez, others expressed anger and pointed out correctly that a minor can not legally consent to a sexual encounter with an adult. Moreno’s Facebook account has since been deleted.
Based on the initial response to Moreno’s statement, several wrestlers expressed outrage at the EWF, including one time EWF Champion Fidel Bravo, who announced he would no longer work for the promotion, and current EWF Tag Team Champions True Grit who announced they are relinquishing their titles.
Jesse Hernandez later released the following statement:
A little over 24 hours ago it came to our attention that Ryan Moreno, who at one time assisted at the School of Hard Knocks and also appeared on EWF events as referee Mickey Moreno,was a registered sex offender. At no point before this were we aware of this. Had we known, he would never have been an active member of our organization. Since learning of this the EWF immediately severed all ties with Ryan Moreno. The Empire Wrestling Federation is a family-owned and operated promotion that prides itself on providing family entertainment to all of our fans and beyond. We would never knowingly place anyone in the uncomfortable and unnecessary position of working with a known sex offender. Especially when, due to a lack of full disclosure, we have not been given a choice in the matter.
If any initial reaction by anyone appeared in any way to defend or excuse Ryan’s actions please know that was never the intent. Both as a company and as a family, all of us are hurt by these events. Every one of us were kept in the dark and others blatantly lied to. Yesterday we considered Ryan, to be a friend. We welcomed him into our homes. Today we find ourselves at a loss as our trust has been betrayed.
Because our audience and training center are family friendly, we have a standing policy that we do not accept sex offenders as a part of our organization. Accordingly, despite our own positive experiences with Moreno, once we knew of his status our path was clear. We have a zero tolerance policy for convicted sex offenders and see no reason to make an exception in this case.
We take this action and reiterate that our primary obligation is to the safety and comfortable environment of our talent, staff, and fans. We promise to do that with integrity and fervor. It’s what we want, what we aspire to be, and most importantly, what our fans and families deserve.
The revelation about Mickey Moreno comes on the heels of the news that Jerome “LTP” Robinson had been arrested for suspicion of molesting a 15-year-old boy. EWF advised us that they would not be booking LTP going forward as well.