Former Christian school teacher faces up to 20 years in prison for child pornography

A man in handcuffs
A man in handcuffs | Pexels/Kindel Media

A former Christian school teacher and volunteer church youth ministry leader in Georgia faces up to 20 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to child pornography possession in federal court on Monday.

Christian Baumgarth, 27, entered a guilty plea before U.S. District Judge Marc Treadwell to one count of possession of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Georgia.

Baumgarth was taken into custody, and his sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9. He could face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. He is liable for a maximum $250,000 fine.

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Originally from Macon, Baumgarth was identified by Homeland Security Investigations agents who were investigating people using encrypted applications to distribute child sexual abuse material.

Federal agents searched Baumgarth's Macon home in August 2023 and seized numerous electronic devices. Baumgarth's iPhones were found to have 20 images and 13 videos of child sexual abuse material, "including some that depicted the sexual abuse or exploitation of an infant or toddler." 

At the time, authorities say he served as a teacher and a coach at First Presbyterian Day School in Macon, where he worked from 2018 to 2023. He also served as a volunteer student ministry small group leader at Northway Church in Macon from 2019-2023, the U.S. Attorney's Office notes. 

Baumgarth initially faced two counts of distribution and two counts of possession of child pornography in May. 

"Those who view and distribute child sexual abuse material perpetuate the victimization of the most vulnerable members of our society," said Anthony J. Patrone, the Acting Special Agent in Charge of HSI Atlanta, which oversees Georgia and Alabama. "Those in positions of public trust are held to a higher standard as guardians of the innocent and HSI Atlanta, with our law enforcement partners, will continue to seek justice for these victims by pursuing and holding accountable the predators dealing in this material."

First Presbyterian Day School terminated Baumgarth's employment once they were informed of the search warrant.

"Mr. Baumgarth was terminated in August 2023, prior to the 2023-24 school year, once we learned of the pending investigation," First Presbyterian Day School's head of school, John Patterson, said in a media statement. "At this point in the investigation, we have been told there is no evidence of any involvement with any FPD student. We are saddened by this situation and praying for all parties involved." 

Nicole VanDyke is a reporter for The Christian Post. 

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