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Press Release

Charlottesville Bodybuilding Coach Indicted on Child Exploitation Charges

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Elliot Atwell Charged with Enticing At Least Six Minors

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – In an indictment unsealed today, a federal grand jury has charged a Charlottesville-based virtual bodybuilding coach with the sexual exploitation of a minor, enticement of a minor, and possession of child pornography.

In an indictment returned May 24 and unsealed today following the defendant’s arrest, the grand jury has charged Elliott Atwell, 33, of Charlottesville, with four counts of the sexual exploitation of a minor, one count of enticing a minor for the purposing of engaging in sexual activity, and one count of possessing child pornography.

According to the indictment, between December 2013 and April 2020, Atwell enticed at least six minors to record themselves engaging in sexually explicit conduct and then send the recordings to him.

The investigation into this matter remains ongoing.  Any individuals who believe they or someone they know may have been victimized by this defendant should contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.

United States Attorney Christopher R. Kavanaugh of the Western District of Virginia and Stanley M. Meador, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Richmond Division made the announcement.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the case.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Melanie Smith and Trial Attorney Jessica Urban of the Department of Justice’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section are prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse, launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and 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

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated May 30, 2023

Project Safe Childhood