Assistant School Band Director Arrested on Child Pornography Charges
CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas - A 28-year-old Corpus Christi man has been charged with distribution of child pornography, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.
Law enforcement arrested Parker J. Pendergraph this afternoon upon the filing of a criminal complaint. He is expected to make his initial appearance before B. Janice Ellington at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow.
According to the charges, an electronic chat room company notified the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) that a known image of child pornography had been uploaded to an internet chat room. The complaint alleges authorities were able to link the specific IP address associated with a user known as “jack” to Pendergraph.
Law enforcement determined Pendergraph was employed as an assistant band director for a local high school and middle school and obtained a search warrant for his residence. At that time, authorities seized several digital devices that led to the discovery of the known image of child pornography uploaded to the chat room, according to the charges. In addition, law enforcement allegedly located several other images of child pornography.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and The Corpus Christi Police Department’s – Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted the investigation with the assistance of NCMEC.
If convicted, Pendergraph faces a minimum of five and up to 20 years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Hugo R. Martinez is prosecuting the case, which was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorneys' Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc. For more information about internet safety education, please visit www.usdoj.gov/psc and click on the tab "resources."
A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence.
A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.