SHERMAN, Texas – The Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston announced the conviction of an Anna, Texas, man for child pornography.
Chad Michael Rider, 48, was found guilty of three counts of the sexual exploitation of children, also referred to as the production of child pornography. The jury returned the verdict late Friday following a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant.
According to the court documents and testimony at trial, in August 2022, Homeland Security Investigations agents investigated David Pettigrew, of Denison, for child pornography offenses. Agents seized a computer hard drive from Pettigrew’s office at the Denison Church of the Nazarene. A forensic review of the device revealed videos of Pettigrew and Rider setting up to film children bathing at the church. They located other videos in which Rider filmed two other children in residential settings.
“One of the sacred safe havens for children is the church, and for all, it stands. Yet Rider and his conspirators purposefully used it as a lure to bring children in and then, despicably, exploited those children for their perverted gratification,” said U.S. Attorney Brit Featherston. “The jury heard all of the evidence and rendered its judgment, and the Eastern District of Texas federal court law will render its punishment soon, at least as such punishment that may be rendered on earth.”
Under federal statutes, Rider faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison on each count. The maximum statutory sentence prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the court will determine the sentencing based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be after completing a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
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, brought this case. It is to locate better, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet and to identify and rescue victims. United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources led the case. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
This case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from Anna Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Marisa J. Miller and Jay Combs.