(STL.News) – A Springfield, Missouri, man who worked as a teacher in China has pleaded guilty in federal court to sexually exploiting one of his former students by attempting to blackmail her into sending him pornographic images.
Curtis J. Baldwin, 47, pleaded guilty before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge David P. Rush on Monday, Oct. 5, to one count of the sexual exploitation of a minor and one count of receiving and distributing child pornography.
Baldwin worked as an English language teacher in China for EF Education First. Baldwin left his employment at EF Education First China School on Nov. 20, 2019. After he returned to Springfield, he contacted a 12-year-old former student, identified in court documents Jane Doe, via the WeChat application. Baldwin told Jane Doe he had video footage that showed her engaged in sexually explicit conduct, and threatened to post the video on the internet unless she sent him images and a video of herself engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Jane Doe’s father saw the WeChat messages and contacted EF Education First China School authorities.
On March 10, 2020, federal agents executed a search warrant at Baldwin’s residence. Multiple items were seized, including Baldwin’s Apple MacBook Pro, which contained files of child pornography, including multiple videos of minor Chinese females engaged in sexually explicit conduct.
Under federal statutes, Baldwin is subject to a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in federal prison without parole, up a sentence of 50 years in federal prison without parole. The maximum statutory sentence is prescribed by Congress and is provided here for informational purposes, as the sentencing of the defendant will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ami Harshad Miller. It was investigated by the FBI and the Southwest Missouri Cyber Crime Task Force.
Project Safe Childhood
This case 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.