A former local youth pastor is heading to prison for potentially 40 years after pleading guilty Monday to seven counts of promotion of child pornography, all second degree felonies.

Timothy Travis Simon, 34, was sentenced to the maximum punishment by District Court Judge Jason Cashon.

Simon will not begin serving the sentences for counts two through seven until he has completed the sentence for count one, making his effective sentence 40 years in prison, according to a press release issued by District Attorney Alan Nash. 

The investigation that led to Simon’s arrest began in November 2017 with a report from Facebook about an image of suspected child pornography traced to electronics found at Simon’s residence in Stephenville. 

According to the arrest affidavit, a forensic extraction was performed on Simon’s cell phone, which resulted in the discovery of several images of child pornography.

“One of the images found on Simon’s cell phone shows what appears to be two boys between the ages of 10 and 14 years of age,” the affidavit states.

The examination also revealed explicit conversations Simon shared through WhatsApp in which he and a person linked to an account in Germany described in detail sex acts each would like to perform on children. 

“Despite the plea of Simon and numerous family members and supporters for probation, Judge Cashon sentenced Simon to prison for all seven counts,” Nash said in a statement to the E-T. “Though the maximum sentence in each case was 20 years, this case contained very disturbing evidence of the exploitation of children by those who make, view and share child pornography. 

“It was chilling that a person with these dangerous sexual appetites chose a profession which would place himself in a position of access and trust in caring for, teaching and spending time with children.”