Youth pastor sentenced to 60 years in prison for recording children bathing at church

Youth pastor sentenced to 60 years in prison for recording children bathing at church

SHERMAN, Texas (TCD) — A 49-year-old former youth pastor will spend six decades in prison for filming children while they were bathing at a church.

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas, in August 2022, Homeland Security launched a child pornography investigation into David Pettigrew. When authorities seized and searched his computer hard drive, they reportedly found that Pettigrew and Chad Rider set up to “film children while bathing at the church.”

The Attorney’s Office said, “Additional videos were located in which Rider filmed two other children in residential settings.”

On Tuesday, Feb. 21, the Attorney’s Office announced Rider was sentenced to 720 months in federal prison — 60 years — after he was found guilty of three counts of sexual exploitation of children.

Rider’s co-defendant, David Pettigrew, a pastor, was sentenced in 2021 to 360 months in federal prison for sexual exploitation of children, and conspiracy and attempt, the Attorney’s Office said.

In a statement, U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston said, “Justice has been served on Chad Michael Rider for his role in the production of child pornography. He used his trusted roles as a church leader, caregiver to at-risk teens, and as a trusted member of his community to plant secret recording devices in bathrooms and other places where children would be disrobed.”

Featherston continued, “This shocking breach of trust was committed by an individual who had falsely sown a firm belief of good character of himself in so many parents in his community.”

Dallas Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Lester R. Hayes Jr. added, “This defendant and his cohort routinely preyed on the innocence of several children that looked to him for guidance as members of his church. He had no concern for the life-altering harm his devious actions would cause those he victimized.”


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