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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of North Carolina

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Former Charter School Principal And Former Special Education Teacher Sentenced For Child Pornography Charges

United States Attorney Anne M. Tompkins Western District Of North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – U.S. District Court Judge Martin Reidinger sentenced today a former charter school principal and a former special education teacher on charges related to child pornography, announced Anne M. Tompkins, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. Chadwick Hamby, 42, of Hendersonville, N.C., was sentenced to 51 months in prison, to be followed by lifetime of supervised release. He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for a period of 15 years. Deborah Lee Tipton, 45, of Burt, N.C. was sentenced to 216 months in prison and a lifetime of supervised release. She was ordered to register as a sex offenders for a period of 25 years.

Joining U.S. Attorney Tompkins in making today’s announcement is John A. Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Charlotte Division.

In August 2012, Hamby, a former principal at Mountain Community School, pleaded guilty to one count of receiving child pornography. In September 2012, Tipton, who was a teacher at the same school as Hamby at the time of the offense, pleaded guilty to one count of possession and one count of transportation of child pornography. According to filed court documents and today’s sentencing hearing, in or about September 10, 2011, Tipton produced two sexually explicit videos of a child under the age of 12. Court records indicate that Tipton sent these videos to Hamby via the internet. Court documents show that Hamby admitted to viewing the videos at least once before deleting them.

In handing down Hamby’s sentence, Judge Reidinger noted that the offense is one of lasting damage, and that the crime is all the more serious in light of Hamby being an educator and a principal. In announcing Tipton’s sentence, the Judge said that he had never seen a case like this.

Hamby has been in federal custody in the Western District since August 2012. Tipton has been in custody since April 2012. Each defendant will be transferred to the custody of the Federal Bureau of Prisons upon designation of a federal facility. Federal sentences are served without the possibility of parole.

The case was investigated by the FBI. The prosecution was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Thorneloe and Cortney Escaravage of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), 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

Updated March 19, 2015