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Tag: Pastor Chad Rider

Black Collar Crime: Evangelical Pastor David Pettigrew and Youth Pastor Chad Rider Sentenced to Decades in Prison for Sexually Exploiting Children

chad rider and david pettigrew

The Black Collar Crime Series relies on public news stories and publicly available information for its content. If any incorrect information is found, please contact Bruce Gerencser. Nothing in this post should be construed as an accusation of guilt. Those accused of crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Chad Rider and David Pettigrew, both pastors at Denison Church of the Nazarene in Denison, Texas, were sentenced to sixty years and thirty years respectively for sexually exploiting children and producing child pornography.

In 2021, Pettigrew pleaded guilty and was sentenced to thirty years in prison.

The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Texas released the following statement:

A Denison man has been sentenced to federal prison for sexual crimes against children in the Eastern District of Texas, announced Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei today.

David Alan Pettigrew, 49, pleaded guilty on April 7, 2021 to sexual exploitation of children; conspiracy and attempt and was sentenced to 360 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant.  

“David Pettigrew is a predator who used his position to exploit children for his own gratification,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei.  “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 EDTX is committed to ensuring that those who assume responsibility for children do not violate that position of trust.”

“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. The actions and the emotional trauma Pettigrew caused to the innocent children he preyed upon is devastating and life-altering,” said Ryan L. Spradlin, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Dallas. “Protecting those most vulnerable is a top priority for HSI and we will never relent in our pursuit of characters like Pettigrew who breach their positions of trust to exploit minors.”

According to information presented in court, Pettigrew came to the attention of law enforcement through referrals sent by two electronic service providers and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, which indicated that a user had uploaded files of suspected child pornography.  Investigators traced the leads to Pettigrew’s home in Denison and the Denison Church of the Nazarene.  Members of HSI and the Grayson County Sheriff’s Office served search warrants at both locations on August 6, 2020, at which time Pettigrew was arrested for transporting child pornography.

As the investigation progressed, investigators discovered that Pettigrew and co-defendant Chad Michael Rider had set up hidden cameras in various locations in order to capture children in various stages of undress.  On August 19, 2020, a grand jury returned an indictment charging Pettigrew with transportation of child pornography and both Pettigrew and Rider with conspiring to and attempting to sexually exploit children (a/k/a production of child pornography).

As part of his plea, Pettigrew admitted to conspiring with Rider to record minors, including while the minors were nude, at locations in Collin and Grayson counties.  The videos were filmed using various hidden cameras, including cameras disguised as hooks, clocks, a picture frame, a smoke detector, an AC wall adapter, charging blocks, and a pen.  Pettigrew further 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 in Grayson County.  The children were all approximately 11 to 14-years old at the time they were unknowingly recorded.

The case against Rider is ongoing and remains pending.

In July 2022, Rider was found guilty of three counts of the sexual exploitation of children.

Kxii reported at the time:

A man accused of assisting a Denison church pastor produce child pornography was convicted in the Eastern District of Texas late Friday.

United States Attorney Brit Featherston announced Chad Michael Rider, 48, of Anna, was guilty of three counts of the sexual exploitation of children. The jury returned the verdict following a five-day trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant.

Court documents showed Rider collaborated with former Denison pastor David Pettigrew to persuade minors into taking sexually explicit photographs. According to the documents and testimony at trial, in August 2022, Homeland Security Investigations agents were investigating Pettigrew for child pornography offenses.

Reviews of the Pettigrew’s computer revealed videos of Pettigrew and Rider setting up to film children while bathing at the church. Other videos revealed Rider filming two other children in residential settings.

Last Friday, Rider was sentenced to sixty years for his crimes.

Kxii reports:

Friday morning, at the Sherman Federal Courthouse, former Denison youth leader and Anna Chiropractor Chad Michael Rider was sentenced to 720 months in federal prison.

District Judge Amos Mazzant gave Rider a total of 60 years for sexually exploiting children and producing child pornography, stacking two 30 year sentences on three charges.

Both Rider, 48 and co-conspirator former pastor David Pettigrew, 49 were arrested in August of 2020 by Department of Homeland Security Agents.

Agents seized Pettigrew’s computer at the Denison Church of the Nazarene, which revealed footage of the two setting up to film minors who were bathing at the church.

Additional videos showed Rider alone filming two different children in residential settings.

The prosecutor says one account was in the child’s home.

And the other was at Rider’s home, which according to the attorney, Rider had guardianship of this minor, she sat in court Friday but declined to read her testimony.

Back in August of 2021, Pettigrew pleaded guilty and was given 30 years for two counts of sexually exploiting children.

A jury found Rider guilty of the same charges after a five day trial last summer.

After two and half hours and hearing attorneys from both sides, Judge Mazzant gave Rider the maximum sentence of 60 years.

Mazzant became emotional as he read the sentencing but said this decision will protect the public as Rider showed no remorse.

The judge went on to say that Rider’s family and friends are living in denial.

Seven minors fell victim to Rider.

This is the second time I have reported on two pastors committing sex crimes together. Imagine these so-called men of God getting together to prey on church children. Talk about disgusting human beings. May they rot in prison.

Bruce Gerencser, 66, lives in rural Northwest Ohio with his wife of 45 years. He and his wife have six grown children and thirteen grandchildren. Bruce pastored Evangelical churches for twenty-five years in Ohio, Texas, and Michigan. Bruce left the ministry in 2005, and in 2008 he left Christianity. Bruce is now a humanist and an atheist.

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Bruce Gerencser