Jonathan High, a thirty-year-old pastor from Steinhatchee, Fla., pleaded guilty in one count to possession of child pornography. He was then subject to a one day bench trial, during which he was found guilty for creating and storing child pornography.
According to the Law and Crime website, High faces a minimum mandatory sentence in America of 15 years and a maximum sentence of 70 years for all three charges. He will be sentenced by U.S. district Judge Allen Winsor in January 2023.
The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, (NCMEC), notified law enforcement via a Verizon “Cybertip” about a cloud storage account that contained files of child pornography.
The account was linked to a number that High’s mother had previously controlled.
Since 2008, Verizon and NCMEC have been working together to fight child pornography.
NCMEC has agreed to provide periodic information to Verizon about sites that contain child pornography. The agreement was announced Friday, March 28th. Verizon will investigate if any of these sites are located on servers that Verizon owns and operates, which offer storage or Web hosting services. Verizon will report to NCMEC if the content is removed or disabled, in accordance with federal law.
In November 2021, the defendant’s mother passed away. This was just months after the August tip. High uploaded the images using his own email address and number.
According to a trial brief, the defendant had “hundreds, perhaps even thousands” of images of child pornography on his accounts. These images are likely to be materials that he downloaded and saved.
But there was more.
“Further investigations revealed that some images and videos were created by High himself; High also produced separate video recordings of two boys using the restroom in Perry, Florida church where High was a deacon.” The DOJ concluded.
According to court records, High was a deacon in the Antioch Revival Church in that municipality.
Continue the court paperwork via Law and Crime
After High’s arrest, two of the children seen in High’s videos were identified as belonging to High’s Taylor County church and interviewed by FDLE. Their guardians also identified the children as the 11-year-old and 10-year-old boys in the videos. The videos were taken at Antioch Revival Church, according to both guardians. One child remembered seeing a camera go off in the bathroom, but he didn’t know who was taking it. Another child recalled seeing High hold a cellphone over the toilet stall while he was using the bathroom.