Hockaday Teacher Arrested on Child Pornography Charges

Hockaday teacher Jason Sherod Baldwin, 28, was arrested by local Federal Bureau of Investigation agents, and stands accused of purchasing child pornography, a federal arrest affidavit revealed.

Jason Baldwin
(PHOTO VIA LINKEDIN)

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.

According to the affidavit filed July 29, agents in Dallas were tipped off to Baldwin’s alleged purchases after agents in the agency’s Philadelphia bureau notified them on July 21 of evidence obtained from the arrest of a convicted sex offender, “A.B.” Federal agents had served a search warrant on his home in January, which reportedly turned up evidence that he was advertising and selling child pornography video clips over social media, including Twitter, Kik, and Tumblr.

Users would message A.B. on Kik, and then receive a preview folder of videos. Users would then tell him what files they wanted to purchase, and then pay through PayPal or Google Pay, sending a screenshot of their payment to him on Kik as confirmation. Once payment was confirmed, A.B. would then send the requested files.

In the course of the search, agents in Philadelphia were able to obtain his communications with alleged customers. Those communications included, according to the affidavit, purchases by Baldwin under the user name “Kpalin09.”

According to the affidavit, “Kpalin09” purchased files from A.B. several times between Oct. 29, 2019, and Jan. 1, 2020.

“Specifically, on or about Oct. 29, 2019, Kik user ‘Kpalin09’ sent a message to the Kik account utilized by A.B. asking, ‘Can I buy?’,” the affidavit said. “Several hours later, A.B. responded, ‘OK I sell links to videos Google Pay or PayPal accepted. Let me know if you have either. A preview folder is provided before buying.’

“Later, ‘Kpalin09’ messaged A.B. indicating that he had a PayPal account and thereafter A.B. shared a link to a preview folder,” the affidavit continued. Less than an hour later, “Kpalin09” reportedly responded with the names of four video files, and paid A.B. $27 for them.

He messaged A.B. again, agents said, on Nov. 7, 2019 asking for “new stuff.” Around Nov. 11, he paid $13 for a file that, according to court documents, contained “image files of child pornography depicting a minor male,” and two videos, all of which depicted male minors engaged in sexual acts.

The same user messaged A.B. again Nov. 17 through Nov. 23, again requesting new files in a series of messages. A.B. did not respond to those messages, but did respond to one on Dec. 7, where “Kpalin09” eventually bought two files in two separate transactions, reports say. One file had more than 100 images, the other had a 13-minute video.

Between Dec. 14 and Jan. 1, “Kpalin09” continued to purchase files from A.B., the affidavit details.

By April 24, 2020, Philadelphia agents found the email address associated with the PayPal account “Kpalin09” was using to pay A.B., and issued a subpoena for the subscriber information and the IP address from Yahoo. PayPal responded to the FBI’s records request, which found that two emails were associated with the account – the address for Hockaday, and an apartment in East Dallas.

From there, agents were able to cross reference the name on the email and PayPal account – Jason Baldwin – with the list of faculty on the school’s website.

Based on analysis of data from Kik and Yahoo, agents were also able to hone in on Baldwin as a suspect because three IP addresses were predominately used with his accounts. The Yahoo address associated with his PayPal account was also used with his AT&T account, as well as accounts with Charter and Sprint, records indicated.

On July 29, agents executed a search warrant on Baldwin’s apartment. While the search warrant was executed, Baldwin agreed to talk to investigators after being informed of his Miranda rights.

“During the subsequent conversation, Baldwin confirmed that he is the user of the Kik Messenger account ‘Kpalin09,’ which was used to transfer funds to another individual to purchase files depicting child pornography,” the affidavit reads. Baldwin reportedly admitted to purchasing the files, and informed investigators that they would find “hundreds” of images and videos depicting child pornography on one of two cell phones in his home.

Baldwin also reportedly told authorities 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 was arrested and, according to court documents, was released Monday to his mother’s custody, on the condition that he not own or use any device with internet access or have contact with minors, and that he seeks psychiatric or sex offender treatment.

In an email to parents, students, and alumni, Hockaday said that Baldwin was suspended pending investigation and banned from campus. The school also said that they are cooperating with authorities, but that there have been no allegations of misconduct at the school involving Baldwin, and he had passed background checks fairly recently.

Bethany Erickson

Bethany Erickson, deputy 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 doesn't like lima beans, black licorice or the word synergy. You can reach her at [email protected].

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