PLANO, Texas – A former pastor and a North Texas man have been charged with child pornography-related offenses. Charges were announced today in the Eastern District of Texas.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Dallas, who is conducting the investigation with assistance from the Grayson County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, is encouraging victims and anyone with relevant information about this case to come forward.
David Pettigrew, 48, a former pastor at the Denison Church of the Nazarene in Denison, Texas, and Chad Michael Rider, 46, of Anna, Texas, were indicted by a grand jury Aug. 19 with conspiring to sexually exploit children and the charges were publicly announced today. Pettigrew was also charged with transporting child pornography. Both men pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Pettigrew came to the attention of law enforcement officials after two electronic surveillance providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children identified a computer user who uploaded suspected child pornography to the internet.
On Aug. 6, HSI special agents executed federal search warrants at Pettigrew’s residence and the Denison Church of the Nazarene. Pettigrew, who served as a pastor at the church until recently, was arrested that same day. HSI Agents executed a search warrant at Rider’s residence Aug. 21.
If convicted, both men face a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison.
The investigation has revealed that a number of children were surreptitiously photographed in private locations or outside of the presence of their parents. Potential victims or members of the public with information about this case are asked to send a detailed message (including contact information) to HSI about any private interactions with Pettigrew or Rider to HSIDallasVictimInfo@ice.dhs.gov.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa J. Miller and Jay Combs.
It is important to note that an indictment or arrest should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.