Newton County Former Youth Pastor Guilty of Child Pornography Violation
BEAUMONT, June 3, 2014 – A 23-year-old former youth pastor has pleaded guilty to child pornography violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.
This case was brought as part of 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. Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.
Ethridge faces a minimum of 15 years and up to 30 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.
This case is being investigated by the Homeland Security Investigations, the Newton Police Department and the Beaumont Police Department and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Randall L. Fluke and Lauren Gaston.