Middle Georgia church volunteer charged with child pornography crimes

A former church volunteer in Middle Georgia has been charged with distributing and possessing child sexual abuse materials. 

Christian Baumgarth, 27, made his initial appearance in federal court on Thursday afternoon following a grand jury's four-count indictment. The indictment, which was unsealed on Thursday, accuses Baumgarth of two counts of distribution and two counts of possession of child pornography. 

Baumgarth, who is originally from Macon but now resides in Atlanta, faces severe legal repercussions if convicted. Each count of distribution of child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of five years and up to 20 years in prison, while each count of possession of child pornography carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. Additionally, Baumgarth could be fined up to $250,000 per count and face a lifetime of supervised release. 

The federal grand jury returned the indictment on May 14, detailing specific allegations against Baumgarth. It is alleged that on July 23, 2023, he distributed digital video files depicting a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Furthermore, on August 1, 2023, Baumgarth allegedly possessed child pornography on his cellular devices, including content featuring a prepubescent minor and a minor under the age of 12. 

Baumgarth's professional history includes serving as a teacher and coach at First Presbyterian Day (FPD) School in Macon from 2018 to 2023. He was also a volunteer small group leader in the student ministry at Northway Church in Macon from 2019 to 2023. In light of the charges, parents and guardians of children who may have interacted with Baumgarth and have concerns are urged to contact Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at 1-866-347-2423.