New details are emerging about a child pornography case involving a Charlottesville teacher.
Fifty-six-year-old Richard Allen Wellbeloved-Stone is currently facing one count of possessing child pornography.
Both police and justice sources confirmed to NBC29 that the female victim in the case is preschool aged, and local. Additional details are being withheld out of concern for the victim and her family.
Tim Heaphy is a former United States attorney who handled these types of cases. He explained, "Federal agencies are often involved when there's a person who is a target who is a teacher or a coach or a pastor or someone who has contract frequently with children."
Federal investigators said they discovered Wellbeloved-Stone's activities through online chats. From there, according to sources, authorities uncovered more chats and pictures, meaning there may be more victims.
"There are dark corners of the internet that are populated by people that are interested in trading images," Heaphy said
July 19, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) investigators contacted the Charlottesville Police Department about the case, which then turned into a joint investigation.
Both Charlottesville police and federal agents executed a search warrant at Wellbeloved-Stone's home along Cottonwood Road on Tuesday, July 25.
"The search warrant itself was probably looking for the images, cellphones, computers or even hard copy images," said Heaphy.
The details of the search warrants and what was found are under a court seal. As a result, that information may not be available to the public until the case goes before a judge.
On his arresting documents, police noted Wellbeloved-Stone was taken into custody without incident, but did note he has a black belt in martial arts. He was a karate instructor at ACAC Fitness and Wellness.
Charlottesville City Schools announced Thursday, July 27, that Wellbeloved-Stone has been a teacher for the school division since 2002, but he is now suspended. He was most recently teaching environmental sciences at Charlottesville High School.
Wellbeloved-Stone was being held at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail, but NBC29 has learned he was transferred on August 1 to Piedmont Regional Jail in Farmville due to safety concerns.
Wellbeloved-Stone's next court date is scheduled for September 28 in Charlottesville General District Court. His case could reach the federal level, likely in the next few months.
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