Todd Christian Hartman, Ex-Youth Counselor at Vineyard Church Anaheim, Held for Child Porn

Todd Christian Hartman, Ex-Youth Counselor at Vineyard Church Anaheim, Held for Child Porn
VineyardUSA.org

A former youth counselor at Vineyard Church in Anaheim was scheduled to make his initial appearance in federal court in Santa Ana this afternoon for allegedly using peer-to-peer file sharing technology to possess and distribute child pornography.

Todd Christian Hartman, 32, of Newport Beach, was accused in a federal indictment handed down Wednesday of one count of possession of child pornography and two counts involving the distribution of child pornography. Conviction could send Hartman to federal prison for 20 to 50 years, according to a statement from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Court documents claim that on multiple occasions Hartman used the Internet to download and distribute sexually explicit images of minors. A search warrant executed at Hartman's home in February led to the recovery of more than 300 still images and in excess of 400 videos containing child pornography, with some videos featuring children as young as 8 or 9, according to the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force.

Investigators from OCCETF notified church officials about the suspicions surrounding Hartman after the search warrant was served, and the church is cooperating fully with the ongoing probe, according to authorities. Investigators are still seeking to determine whether he engaged in any criminal misconduct with underage parishioners.

Hartman was arrested this morning by ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agents and Newport Beach Police detectives for alleged incidents that occurred in 2014 and earlier this year, ICE says. The OCCETF is composed of those agencies as well as the FBI, the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. The U.S. Attorney's office is prosecuting.

"These allegations are particularly disturbing in light of the defendant's access to children," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of HSI Los Angeles, in the ICE statement. "HSI will continue to work closely with our local and federal law enforcement partners to investigate those who sexually exploit our young people and ensure that these predators feel the full weight of the law."

Email: mcoker@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!


Sponsor Content

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >