Baldwin Gets New Court Date, Signals Possible Plea Deal

A former Hockaday teacher accused of purchasing child pornography will get a new court date, documents filed March 10 indicate.

Jason Sherod Baldwin’s attorney, assistant federal public defender John M. Nicholson, filed the motion for a continuance, asking for an additional 60 days. The trial was due to start on March 29, but Nicholson indicated the extra time was needed because Baldwin and the U.S. Attorney’s office may be reaching a plea deal.

“The defense is cautiously optimistic that the parties will resolve this case by way of a plea bargain,” the motion said. “The defense requests this continuance so that the parties will have the time necessary to either successfully complete plea bargain negotiations or, failing that, prepare for trial.”

U.S. District Judge Jane J. Boyle granted the continuance.

The motion is only the latest move in Baldwin’s case. According to documents, he was moved from his original home custody arrangement (which is part of his pretrial release requirements) to another residence after he attempted suicide on Nov. 23.

Baldwin was found by his third-party custodian after he attempted to slit one of his wrists, and then tried to drown himself in the bathtub. The custodian, according to court records, called his probation officer to alert him that Baldwin was being transferred to Medical City Dallas for a 24-hour evaluation. The custodian also told the probation officer that she did not wish to have Baldwin in her home anymore, adding that police had to kick in the apartment door and the restroom door to respond to Baldwin’s suicide attempt.

According to an arrest affidavit, Baldwin, 28, was arrested July 29, 2020, after an FBI investigation traced his alleged purchases of online child pornography to IP addresses that led to his home and to the school that were associated with the email accounts he reportedly used to set up Kik messenger and PayPal accounts, which he then used to obtain and pay for videos and photos of male minors.

Baldwin worked as a curriculum coordinator with the school’s Ann Graves Child Development Center, according to his now-unavailable LinkedIn profile. He had been employed by the school since 2014. The same profile indicated that he at one time also worked for Parish Episcopal School and Greenhill School.

The affidavit also said that Baldwin told agents as they conducted a search of his apartment that he had been viewing child pornography for almost eight years, and had used another app, Telegram, to purchase files as well.

“Baldwin admitted he has an addiction to child pornography and told investigators this is not something he could share with his friends,” the affidavit read.

Baldwin passed background checks while at Hockaday, the school said in a statement shortly after his arrest, and he was banned from campus when the allegations came to light.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, Digital Editor at People Newspapers, cut her teeth on community journalism, starting in Arkansas. Recently, she's taken home a few awards for her writing, including first place for her tornado coverage from the National Newspapers Association's 2020 Better Newspaper Contest, a Gold award for Best Series at the 2018 National Association of Real Estate Editors journalism awards, a 2018 Hugh Aynesworth Award for Editorial Opinion from the Dallas Press Club, and a 2019 award from NAREE for a piece linking Medicaid expansion with housing insecurity. She is a member of the Education Writers Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the National Association of Real Estate Editors, the News Leaders Association, the News Product Alliance, and the Online News Association. She doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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