Portsia Smith covers Louisa County crime and news.
Former minister, 81, gets 90-year sentence
A judge upheld a jury’s recommendation of 90 years in prison for a former minister convicted of three counts of using a computer to solicit sex from a minor.
Irvin “Pete” Baldwin, 81, of Mechanicsville, was sentenced in Louisa County Circuit Court today to 90 years in prison, the second-longest sentence in Virginia history for this offense, according to Louisa Deputy Commonwealth Attorney Rusty McGuire.
Baldwin was arrested in December in Louisa, where he thought he would meet a young girl for sex.
The investigation started last November, when a man contacted Louisa sheriff’s detective Patrick Siewert online. The detective was posing as a 13-year-old girl.
After several online chats on Nov. 23, Nov. 30 and Dec. 4 of 2009, the man started discussing sexual acts, Siewert said. He later proposed to come to Louisa to perform those acts.
When Baldwin drove from his home in Hanover County to Louisa, he was arrested by detectives.
During the trial in August, McGuire argued that Baldwin’s graphic sexual conversations, his instructions to the minor to erase the records of their conversations and his drive to Louisa at his requested meeting place and time established his intent.
McGuire argued for a substantial sentence due to the defendant’s past history as a pastor, Sunday school teacher, business owner and lack of criminal record.
Baldwin’s attorney argued that these were positives, but McGuire argued that Baldwin “was living the American Dream and if anybody knew better, it was an 81-year-old with his background. Instead he chose to steal the innocence of what he thought was a 13-year-old child.”
- Portsia Smith