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Texas pastor sentenced to 30 years over using hidden cameras to film underage children

by Premier Journalist

A former Texas pastor has received a 30-year sentence over his illegal filming of minors at church.

A District judge sentenced David Pettigrew, former pastor of the Church of the Nazarene in Denison, Texas, to a 30-year sentence for filming sexually explicit content involving minors.

According to a statement released by the Department of Justice, The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had tracked the origin point of several collections of child pornography to Pettigrew's home, leading to local law enforcement acquiring several searches warrants to investigate both the Pettigrews' home and his church.

According to investigators, Pettigrew "had set up hidden cameras in locations to capture children in various stages of undress." In many cases, these cameras were hidden as simple devices such as hooks, clocks, smoke detectors, and other innocuous devices. Police would arrest Pettigrew alongside his co-conspirator Chad Michael Rider, a local chiropractor, in 2020 on charges of child pornography. Pettigrew and Rider would plead guilty to the crimes before a jury. 

"David Pettigrew is a predator who used his position to exploit children for his gratification," said acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. "Parents and kids in Grayson County trusted Pettigrew as an educator, pastor, and friend, all the while unaware of his criminal intent. Working with children is nothing short of a privilege, and EDTX is committed to ensuring that those who assume responsibility for children do not violate that position of trust."

Pettigrew served at the Church of the Nazarene since 2006 and has three children.

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