A Texas pastor has been sentenced to three decades in prison for secretly filming children, some as young as 11, getting undressed and bathing at his church, the New York Daily News reports.
David Pettigrew and an accomplice set up multiple hidden cameras disguising them as hooks, clocks, charging blocks, a smoke detector, a picture frame, an air conditioner adapter and even a pen, according to charging documents from the Justice Department.
After being arrested last year, Pettigrew, 49 admitted to filming a child in his home and that he and his co-defendant secretly recorded multiple children at the Denison Church of the Nazarene in Grayson County.
Two websites and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children contacted authorities after he uploaded some of his footage to the internet.
"The deviant behavior of any individual that occupies a position or role of public trust, especially one that betrays that trust, is unforgivable and repulsive," Dallas Homeland Security special agent Ryan Spradlin said in a statement. "The actions and the emotional trauma Pettigrew caused to the innocent children he preyed upon is devastating and life-altering."
Pettigrew's accomplice, Chad Rider, is still fighting the charges. This Monday, a federal judge sentenced Pettigrew to 360 months in federal prison.
"David Pettigrew is a predator who used his position to exploit children for his own gratification," Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas Ganjei, of the Eastern District of Texas, said in a statement after the sentencing.
"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 (my office) is committed to ensuring that those who assume responsibility for children do not violate that position of trust."