NH husband, wife arrested over child sex abuse imagery

A New Hampshire husband and wife are facing charges for creating images showing the man sexually abusing a child, according to a federal court document.

Paul Baird is seen abusing a minor in sexually explicit images that were later shared on the dark web, federal investigators wrote in a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in New Hampshire. The pictures were allegedly taken by his wife, Krystal, at their home in Keene, which she allegedly admitted to in an interview with U.S. Homeland Security Investigations agents.

Both of the Bairds were arrested and appeared in court in Concord Wednesday. Authorities are asking anyone with information on the case to contact them at 603-629-2716.

Paul Baird, 43, worked as a school bus driver for the Conval Regional School District, state police told investigators, according to the document, which found probable cause that he and his wife produced child pornography.

Student Transportation of America terminated a bus driver who was recently arrested, Conval Regional Schools Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo-Saunders said Wednesday, without naming Baird or saying what the driver was arrested for.

“It does not appear at this time that the arrest is connected to any activity involving our students and staff, or any District-related activity. The District appreciates its partnerships with local law enforcement and STA, and thanks STA for its swift response,” she said in the statement.

U.S. Attorney for New Hampshire Jane Young noted at a news conference Wednesday that they can’t be sure students aren’t victims, noting that the investigation was just beginning. While she wouldn’t speak about the victim who’d been identified in the case, she urged parents to have a “delicate” but necessary conversation about the allegations with their children.

“I cannot imagine being in that circumstance having to have that conversation with a child but please know there is help and there are people who dedicate their lives to protecting these children,” Young said.

Paul Baird sent more than 100 messages and uploaded nearly 30 files to a chat site on the dark web — parts of the internet that are only accessible through anonymizing software — dedicated to sexually abusive images of young girls, according to the criminal complaint.

Investigators talked with Baird undercover on the site and linked a photo showing sexual abuse to a location in Keene, according to the complaint. When they arrested him in Keene, they asked him what he used his phone for and he allegedly replied, “You already know.”

When investigators asked Krystal Baird about the pictures Wednesday morning outside her home, according to the complaint, she said he had asked her in December to take the pictures of himself with the minor for his sexual gratification, and that while she initially refused, she relented so he wouldn’t become mad.

She described taking about five explicit photos of her husband and the child — whose relationship to the pair isn’t identified — while they were on a couch later that day, and told agents she had not been threatened or forced to take the images, and that she could have taken the girl out of the house with her but did not, according to the complaint. Shown three sanitized images of the child sexual abuse, she allegedly said she took two and that her husband had taken the other.

When Paul Baird was hired by Student Transportation of America in September, he underwent a background check that didn’t raise any concern, the company said Wednesday.

“We will continue to prioritize the safety of the students we transport. STA is fully cooperating with authorities and the district on the ongoing investigation,” a representative for the company said in a statement.

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