Ex-Macon teacher admits to possessing child pornography, will face up to 20 years

A former Macon teacher and youth ministry leader has admitted to possessing child pornography, court documents show.

Christian Baumgarth, who was charged in early May with possessing and distributing child porn, agreed to a plea deal on Monday that dismissed all but one of his charges. He’ll face sentencing for possessing child pornography, court documents show.

He was a teacher and coach for the First Presbyterian Day School in Macon from 2018 to 2023 and volunteered as a small group leader for Macon Northway Church’s student ministry from 2019 to 2023, according to a press release from the Department of Justice when Baumgarth was indicted.

Baumgarth will face up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a term of supervised release of less than five years to lifetime supervision and a mandatory assessment of $100, according to his plea agreement. A federal judge will determine all factors in the case to make a final ruling on the sentence.

Baumgarth’s plea agreement also says he has agreed to be subjected to several financial penalties: a $5,000 assessment per count, a $17,000 assessment if convicted of child exploitation, a $35,000 assessment of any other trafficking in child pornography and a $50,000 assessment if convicted in a child pornography production offense. He will also pay $3,000 per victim in mandatory restitution. The plea agreement does not indicate how many victims were involved in the case.

He is also required to register as a sex offender upon release from prison, according to his plea agreement.

Baumgarth agreed to forfeit technology he used to commit the crimes, including his Samsung phone and tablet, an HP laptop, a Dell laptop with a Logitech USB and a Cyberpower PC, according to the court document. He also agreed to abandon and destroy other remaining tech, including his Playstation 4, two Xbox One consoles, an Amazon Kindle Fire Stick, a Nintendo 3DS XL and more.

The plea agreement says federal agents searched Baumgarth’s home on Aug. 1 last year, where they seized an iPhone 14 and iPhone 11, which revealed he had 20 images and 13 videos of child abuse and exploitation. His search history was “consistent with an individual attempting to avoid law enforcement detection while distributing and possessing (child sex abuse material),” the plea agreement said.

Agents from the FBIand the Department of Homeland Security determined that Baumgarth distributed two child porn videos on July 23, 2023. He has admitted that he possessed the material with intent to view them, the court document said.

His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9 at 9:30 a.m. in federal court in Macon.