Former Macon teacher, youth ministry leader faces federal child pornography charges

A former Macon teacher and youth ministry leader has been charged with possessing and distributing child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of Middle Georgia said Thursday.

Christian Baumgarth, who lives in Atlanta and formerly lived in Macon, was indicted Tuesday on two counts of possessing child porn and two counts of distributing child porn. If convicted, he could spend 20 to 80 years in prison, according to a press statement from the Department of Justice.

The indictment, unsealed Thursday, alleges Baumgarth “distributed digital video files on July 23, 2023, depicting a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct,” the U.S. attorney’s office said. The indictment also alleges he “possessed child pornography of a prepubescent minor and a minor under the age of 12 years old on his cellular devices on Aug. 1, 2023.”

Baumgarth was a teacher and coach at First Presbyterian Day School in Macon from 2018 to 2023, the DOJ said. He also volunteered as a small group leader in the student ministry of Macon’s Northway Church from 2019 to 2023.

If convicted, the 27-year-old would face a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and a maximum of 20 years for each count, according to the DOJ. Baumgarth also faces a maximum $250,000 fine per count, and up to a lifetime of supervised release, the statement said.

Homeland Security Investigations and the FBI were investigating the case, and Deputy Criminal Chief Will Keyes is prosecuting the case, the DOJ said.

The U.S. attorney’s office asked parents and guardians of children who “may have encountered Baumgarth and have concerns related to this investigation” to contact Homeland Security Investigations at 1-866-347-2423.