• David Alan Pettigrew, 49, was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison
  • Pettigrew admitted to secretly filming minors using hidden cameras while they were naked
  • The minors were filmed using cameras disguised as clocks and smoke detectors, among others

A 49-year-old pastor from Grayson County, Texas was sentenced to 30 years in federal prison after he admitted to using hidden cameras to secretly film several minors while they were nude and undressing, prosecutors announced this week.

David Alan Pettigrew, of Denison, received a 360-month prison sentence from U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant Monday after he pleaded guilty on April 7 to sexual exploitation of children and production of child pornography, U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei said in a statement released on the day of the sentencing.

Authorities started looking into Pettigrew after they received referrals from two unnamed electronic service providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which indicated that a user had uploaded files of suspected child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas (USAO-EDTX) statement.

Members of the Homeland Security Investigations and the Grayson County Sheriff's Office conducted a search of Pettigrew's home in Denison and the Denison Church of the Nazarene on Aug. 6, 2020 after investigators traced the leads to both locations. Meanwhile, Pettigrew was arrested for transporting child pornography at the time the search warrants were served.

Investigators discovered that Pettigrew and another person, identified as Chad Michael Rider, had set up hidden cameras in various locations in order to capture children in various stages of undress.

A grand jury later charged Pettigrew with transportation of child pornography, while both men were charged with production of child pornography on Aug. 19, 2020.

Pettigrew, as part of his plea, admitted to conspiring with Rider to record minors — which included filming them while they were naked — at locations in Collin and Grayson counties. He also admitted that he secretly filmed a child in his home and that he and Rider filmed children undressing, bathing and toweling off at the Denison Church of the Nazarene.

The children were aged between 11 and 14 at the time were they unknowingly recorded.

Some of the hidden cameras used to film the videos were allegedly disguised as hooks, clocks, a picture frame, a smoke detector, an AC wall adapter, charging blocks and a pen.

"David Pettigrew is a predator who used his position to exploit children for his own gratification," Ganjei was quoted as saying in the statement.

The case against Rider is still ongoing.

Representation. A parent of one of Scott Christner's victims said the suspect was his friend for about 40 years. Pixabay