Former preacher talks about conviction and sentence

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - The former Hanover minister, convicted of internet sex crimes in Louisa, is talking to us about his guilty verdict.

Irvin Baldwin told NBC12 he didn't do anything wrong. The former minister says he simply traveled from Mechanicsville to Louisa last year to make sure the person he was chatting with online, wasn't a 13-year-old girl. The jury saw it differently and wants him to spend the rest of his life in prison.

Dressed in a suit, tie and handcuffs, Baldwin talked to NBC12 before his trip back to jail. He first mentioned losing his business, house and a son in a 15 year span. Then spoke about his conviction and sentence.

"Today the rest of my life has been taken away from me," said Baldwin.

Jurors recommended Baldwin spend 90 years in prison-- 30 for each count of soliciting sex from a minor in November and December of last year.

"I have never touched a single child and my offense was speaking to a 42-year-old man who was not too good looking anyway on the internet," said Baldwin.

Some of what Baldwin wrote in a Yahoo chat room from his home computer is too graphic to show you. One line reads in part: "I want my hands all over you."

A Louisa detective posing as a 13-year-old girl was on the receiving end. Baldwin claims he knew there was no girl.

"So you don't think you did anything wrong? "I didn't do a single solitary thing wrong. I knew from the first minute that was not a real person that's why I asked the question, 'are you 13,'" said Baldwin.

But when asked why he drove to Louisa for a meet up, Baldwin had this to say.

"To be sure in my own mind that there was no person. That's the only reason why I went there," said Baldwin.

Defense witness Dr. David Israel completed Baldwin's psychological evaluation.

"He basically is a good man with a lot of personal conflicts that need to be treated," said Dr. Israel.

Prosecutor Rusty McGuire asked for an 81 year sentence. One for each year of Baldwin's life.  McGuire says as a businessman, preacher and Sunday school teacher, Baldwin should have known better.

"Most people that come in the courtroom have bad histories or bad upbringings. The defendant was living the American dream. He chose to prey on the innocence of a child," said McGuire.

Baldwin's sons did not want to comment on camera. One said he doesn't think the sentence is appropriate for a man with no criminal record. Baldwin will be formally sentenced on November 15.

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