SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – A Springfield, Missouri, man who worked as a teacher in China was sentenced in federal court today for sexually exploiting one of his former students by attempting to blackmail her into sending him pornographic images.
Curtis J. Baldwin, 48, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Stephen R. Bough to 41 years and eight months in federal prison without parole. The Court also sentenced Baldwin to spend the rest of his life on supervised release after incarceration.
On Oct. 5, 2020, Baldwin pleaded guilty 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. Baldwin left his employment on Nov. 20, 2019. After he returned to Springfield, he contacted a 12-year-old former student, identified in court documents as 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 additional images and a video of herself engaged in sexually explicit conduct. Jane Doe’s father saw the WeChat messages and contacted authorities at the language school, who relayed the information to the FBI for investigation.
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. Multiple videos of minor Chinese females engaged in sexually explicit conduct that had been produced by Baldwin were among the files. The minor Chinese females were students of Baldwin. The files also contained a sexually explicit video titled “My First Project,” created by Baldwin of a minor female in Springfield.
This case was 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. 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.”