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Press Release

Richmond City Public Schools Teacher Arrested for Child Pornography

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – A Richmond City Public Schools music teacher made his initial appearance in federal court today on charges of receipt and distribution of images of child sexual abuse.

Kellen Thomas Donelson, 32, of Richmond, was arrested at his home yesterday. Donelson is a music teacher at Oak Grove/Bellemeade Elementary School and an Associate Minister/Music Director at Mount Hope Baptist Church.

According to allegations detailed in the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, in February and July of 2019, Donelson uploaded multiple images of child pornography via Snapchat and Kik Messenger. Yesterday, during a court-authorized search of his home, law enforcement discovered at least 50 images and videos of child pornography on Donelson’s phone.

Donelson is charged with receipt and distribution of child pornography. If convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years and a maximum penalty of 40 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

Anyone with information regarding this matter should contact U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) at: 1-804-648-0419, extension 223.

G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, and Jim Stitzel, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Norfolk, made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Elliker is prosecuting the case.

A copy of this press release is located on the website of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. Related court documents and information are located on the website of the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia or on PACER by searching for Case No. 3:19-mj-212.

A criminal complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.


Joshua Stueve
Director of Public Affairs

Updated December 6, 2019

Project Safe Childhood