FORSYTH COUNTY, N.C. — A former Forsyth County minister is facing additional child pornography charges.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office began an investigation in April, into claims after receiving a tip from National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that someone was uploading child pornography to the internet.
The sheriff’s office said since then they have received additional tips into the case.
T Elliot Welch, 34, was previously arrested and charged with one count of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor. Investigators said he was arrested again and is now charged with ten counts of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
Investigators said second degree sexual exploitation of a minor is allegedly committed when the person charged 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. They said, third degree sexual exploitation of a minor is allegedly committed when the person charged knows the character or content of the material, possesses material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaging in sexual activity.
The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office said Welch was a Senior Pastor at First Baptist Church of Stanleyville. He has since resigned from his position.
The church released the following statement on their website.
“We are shocked and saddened by the criminal charges brought against T. Elliott Welch, the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Stanleyville. We in no way condone the behavior for which Pastor Welch has been accused. We are and will continue to cooperate with law enforcement officials as the investigation into these charges continues. Pastor Welch has resigned from his position as senior pastor, First Baptist Church - Stanleyville. As a church, we remain committed to the spiritual needs of our members during this difficult time.
We will refrain from further comment on these allegations as to allow law enforcement officials to continue to do their important work.”
Welch received a $250,000.00 unsecured bond. He will appear in court on July 1.