Minister accused in child porn case faces judge
Posted at: 04/05/2013 5:49 PM
By: Jill Galus, KOB Eyewitness News 4
Derek Schwartzrock, the former children's pastor at Evangel Christian Center accused of collecting thousands of images of child pornography for years, made his first appearance in federal court Friday morning.
He wore a red, UNM Lobos t-shirt and baggy jeans, and looked somewhat dazed as the judge asked Schwartzrock if he was aware of his charges.
In the criminal complaint, Schwartzrock is depicted as a child predator behind closed doors, after an investigation that started on the other side of the country.
At first glance, Schwartzrock looks just like any other 34-year-old guy. His love for kids is apparent by his public facebook page, with more than 700 pictures of children posted on it.
But it is what he was allegedly doing in the privacy of his apartment that launched an investigation nearly 2,000 miles away.
"This started out of Philadelphia with our homeland security investigations office and it was referred to us," Kevin Abar, Homeland Security Investigations, said.
HSI special agents tracked Schwartzrock to a photo-sharing website.
"The images that we received out of Phillly and the images we were able to garner from here were images of young children being exploited," Abar said.
According to the criminal complaint, HSI special agents tracked Schwartzrock's specific internet address directly to his apartment in northeast Albuquerque.
"Working with New Mexico State Police and with my special agents, we initiated the state search warrant," Abar said. "We found over 12,000 images of child exploitations and child erotica."
The criminal complaint states, "results of a polygraph showed Schwartzrock was being untruthful in questions concerning if he ever touched a child in an inappropriate manner."
HSI has not said if any of the children at Evangel Christian Center could have been victimized.
"Working with New Mexico State Police that was one of our concerns, and that's why we worked very quickly and very swiftly to execute those warrants," Abar said.
Senior paster, Brenton Franks, told KOB Eyewitness News 4 he feels confident the church did everything they could to make sure this kind of stuff was not happening there.