An indictment was returned for two North Texas men who have been charged with child exploitation crimes. In a news release issued Tuesday, Eastern District of Texas announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox said Denison Church of the Nazarene Pastor David Pettigrew, 48, of Denison, and Collin County chiropractor Chad Michael Rider, 46, of Anna were indicted Tuesday for conspiring to sexually exploit children.


The release said these crimes are often referred to as production of child pornography).


"Pettigrew was additionally charged with transporting child pornography," the release said. "Both men have entered not guilty pleas to the charges."


An indictment is a formal charge and is not evidence of guilt.


Pettigrew got the attention of local law enforcement officials through "referrals sent by two electronic surveillance providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children."


The release also said, "Those referrals identified a computer user who uploaded suspected child pornography onto their online platforms. On August 6, 2020, Homeland Security Investigations agents executed federal search warrants at Pettigrew’s residence and the Denison Church of the Nazarene, after which, agents arrested Pettigrew. Agents executed a search warrant at Rider’s residence on August 21, 2020. Until recently, Pettigrew had served as pastor of the Denison Church of the Nazarene. Rider is a resident of Anna, Texas."


If convicted, these men could 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," the release said. "Any members of the public with information about this case or possible victims are urged to contact Homeland Security Investigations at HSIDallasVictimInfo@ice.dhs.gov. Members of the community are urged to send a detailed message (including contact information) with information about any possible private interactions with Pettigrew or Rider to the email above."


This case is being brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.


This case is also being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office. The case will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa J. Miller and Jay Combs.


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