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.
In 2022, David Walther, pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Round Rock, Texas, was accused of distribution, receipt, transportation, and possession of child pornography. Faith Baptist is an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist (IFB) congregation affiliated with the Baptist Bible Fellowship.
David Lloyd Walther, 56, of Georgetown, was arrested on Thursday and charged with distribution, receipt, transportation and possession of child pornography, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.
Walther told an FBI agent that “he had a pornography addiction and would often go through cycles ofdownloading and viewing pornography depicting both adults and minors,” the complaint said.
He also said that he would download child pornography files, “but would often feel guilty and go through a ‘purging’ of files, i.e., deleting the images and associated files, because he knew it was wrong, and that he last purged files on November 08, 2022, the night before the search warrants were served,” according to the complaint.
Walther was a pastor at the Faith Baptist Church in Round Rock for the past 18 years, said David Clawson, a deacon at the church.
“We regret anything along these lines that has happened,” Clawson said on Friday about the charges against Walther. “The church will continue to move forward as God has led,” Clawson said. He declined further comment.
“The criminal complaint alleges that Walther downloaded and made available child pornography using BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing network,” the release said. It said this happened when Walther, who is a Georgetown resident, was still a pastor.
When authorities searched Walther’s home and vehicle on Thursday, they found two large computer hard drives that contained child pornography, the release said.
Walther told authorities that he didn’t know he was sharing child pornography through the BitTorrent network and also apologized “for his actions,” the complaint said.
He said when he viewed the child pornography the children in it were between 8 and 17 years old, according to the complaint.
According to the affidavit, which Law&Crime is not sharing in this instance because of how detailed it is, the pastor had a “BDSM” folder containing an image of a nude boy with a collar on his neck and being sexually abused, a similar image of a female toddler, and images of nude young boys and girls being restrained by ropes and tools. A “Zoo” folder allegedly contained a bestiality video involving a dog and a female toddler “likely less than three years old.”
The feds allege that the defendant also downloaded several videos through BitTorrent showing young girls being sexually abused by adult men.
Walther has been scrubbed from his church’s website.
Last July, Walther pleaded guilty to an enhanced charge of possession of child sex abuse images.
A Texas pastor pleaded guilty to an enhanced charge of possession of child sex abuse images after he admitted having downloaded some of the materials at his church, according to federal prosecutors and court documents.
David Lloyd Walther, 57, “knowingly searched for, downloaded, distributed and possessed” child sex abuse images, some of which depicted prepubescent minors, on a peer-to-peer file sharing network while he was the pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Round Rock, a city 18 miles north of Austin, the U.S. attorney’s office for Western Texas said Thursday.
Walther was arrested Nov. 9 after a search of his home and car turned up two large computer hard drives with more than 100,000 images and more than 5,000 videos of child sex abuse material, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
He pleaded guilty in federal court in Austin on June 27, court records show.
Walther could face up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
It was not immediately clear when he would be sentenced. A spokesperson for the U.S. attorney’s office said a sentencing date had not yet been scheduled.
In a statement, Worth Carroll, an attorney representing Walther, said: “David’s guilty plea is the next step in the healing process after he experienced horrendous childhood abuse where ‘trusted adults’ and the system repeatedly failed to protect him. Since his arrest, David and his family have courageously worked to confront his own abuse, address how he was neglected and abused, and begin making amends for the harm he has caused. I am proud of him, encouraged by the work he has done, and amazed by the love and compassion of his family.”
Last Wednesday, Walther was sentenced to seventy months in prison.
A Georgetown man was sentenced in a federal court in Austin on Wednesday to 70 months in prison [5.8 years] and 10 years of supervised release for an enhanced charge of possession of child pornography.
According to court documents, David Lloyd Walther, 57, knowingly searched for, downloaded, distributed and possessed child sexual abuse material, including child pornography—some of which depicted prepubescent minors—using BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing network. During a search of Walther’s home and vehicle in November 2022, two large computer hard drives were located and found to contain more than 100,000 images and more than 5,000 videos of child sexual abuse material. At the time of his arrest, Walther was the pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Round Rock.
In addition to the prison and supervised release terms, the judge also ordered Walther to pay restitution of $61,000.
“Many families in the Round Rock area placed their trust in this man when he served as a leader in faith for their community,” said U.S. Attorney Jaime Esparza for the Western District of Texas. “I hope that those families can find comfort in knowing our law enforcement partners and justice system are committed to protecting them, ensuring that predators such as Walther cannot continue to pose a threat to innocent children.”
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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