Former Virginia High School Science Teacher Pleads Guilty to Producing Child Pornography
A Charlottesville, Virginia man pleaded guilty today to a child pornography charge, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Thomas T. Cullen of the Western District of Virginia.
Richard Alan Wellbeloved-Stone, 57, pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia to one count of production of child pornography.
Wellbeloved-Stone, a former high school teacher in Charlottesville, was discovered by law enforcement after chatting online with an undercover agent from the United Kingdom about sexually abusing a young child. A search warrant executed at Wellbeloved-Stone’s home recovered several images of child pornography produced by Wellbeloved-Stone of at least two young minor victims.
“The horrific nature of Richard Wellbeloved-Stone’s production of images depicting the sexual abuse of children is only compounded by the fact that he held a position of great societal trust and admiration as a teacher,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Cronan. “The Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to aggressively investigate and prosecute persons who exploit minors for sexual purposes and use technology to further victimize these children.”
“The defendant, who was entrusted by the community to protect our children, violated that sacred trust by committing these awful acts,” said U.S. Attorney Cullen. “I am thankful to those who stopped him from committing further crimes. As this case demonstrates, we will aggressively target those who prey on children.”
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Charlottesville Police Department, the Virginia State Police and the Albemarle County Police Department.
This case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney Leslie Williams Fisher of the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Healey.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.