Ex- coun­selor to kids faces child porn charges

Los Angeles Times - - OBITUARIES - By Jeremiah Do­bruck jeremiah. do­bruck @ latimes. com Twit­ter: @ jeremi­ah­do­bruck Do­bruck writes for Times Com­mu­nity News.

A New­port Beach man who served as a youth coun­selor at an Or­ange County church has pleaded not guilty to child pornog­ra­phy charges, fed­eral of­fi­cials said Mon­day.

Author­i­ties ar­rested Todd Chris­tian Hart­man on Fri­day morn­ing, two days af­ter the 32- year- old, who worked with chil­dren at Vine­yard Church of Ana­heim, was in­dicted on one count of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy and two counts of dis­tribut­ing child pornog­ra­phy.

The charges stem from al­leged ac­tiv­i­ties in the last two years, ac­cord­ing to court records.

Fed­eral of­fi­cials said they no­ti­fied the church about their sus­pi­cions af­ter a Fe­bru­ary raid on Hart­man’s home, where in­ves­ti­ga­tors re­ported f ind­ing more than 400 child porn videos and 300 child porn photos that they be­lieve Hart­man down­loaded or dis­trib­uted online.

“Some of those videos fea­tured chil­dren as young as 8 or 9,” ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from fed­eral of­fi­cials.

Of­fi­cials said they sus­pect that Hart­man used peer- to- peer f ile- shar­ing net­works to col­lect and share pornog­ra­phy.

The church is co­op­er­at­ing with lo­cal and fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors, who are try­ing to de­ter­mine whether Hart­man com­mit­ted any crimes in­volv­ing chil­dren at the church, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment.

“These al­le­ga­tions are par­tic­u­larly dis­turb­ing in light of the de­fen­dant’s ac­cess to chil­dren,” said Claude Arnold, spe­cial agent in charge of Home­land Se­cu­rity In­ves­ti­ga­tions in Los An­ge­les.

Hart­man is be­ing held with­out bail, As­sis­tant U. S. Atty. Ivy Wang said.

He could face as many as 10 years in prison if con­victed of the pos­ses­sion charge, and each of the dis­tri­bu­tion counts car­ries a max­i­mum prison sen­tence of 20 years.

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