Tobaccoville, North Carolina: Tuesday, April 27 the Forsyth County Sheriff's Office announced on their Facebook page that they had arrested the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church of Stanleyville, 34-year-old T. Elliott Welch for a single charge of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
According to their statement the department had been notified by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone had uploaded child pornography to the internet. Their investigation led them to the residence of Welch where a search warrant was executed and soon thereafter, he was arrested.
The charge of second-degree sexual exploitation is filed when someone "knowingly records, photographs, films, develops, or duplicates material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity or distributes, transports, exhibits, receives, sells, purchases, exchanges, or solicits material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity."
The arrest warrant, viewed by the Winston-Salem Journal states that the charge relates to material that depicted a girl estimated to be between the age of 10 and 12 being raped.
Welch was booked into the Forsyth County Jail and assigned a $50,000 secured bond. He was released from custody on Wednesday and is scheduled to appear back in court on May 13.
Citing First Baptist Church of Stanleyville's website, which has since been pulled down for "maintenance," the Winston-Salem Journal states that Welch became the lead pastor in February 2020. The married father of four served as an associate pastor and minister of students before that from September 2014 to January 2020.
The Forsyth County Sheriff's Office is asking that anyone with information related to this investigation contact their office at (336) 727-2112. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous can contact them through Text-A-Tip at (336) 920-8477 or through Crime Stoppers at (336) 727-2800, or the Spanish line at (336) 728-3904.