T. Elliott Welch, pastor at First Baptist Church in Stanleyville, was arrested April 27 on a charge related to child pornography, according to the Forsyth County Sherrif’s Office.
Law enforcement officers searched Welch’s residence in Tobaccoville after receiving a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an individual was uploading child pornography to the internet.
Welch was taken into custody on the church’s property. He is being charged with one count of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor.
Authorities are asking anyone with information related to the investigation to contact the sheriff’s office at (336) 727-2112; anonymously text information, photos and video to 336-920-8477; or anonymously call Crimestoppers at (336) 727-2800 for English or (336) 728-3904 for Spanish.
A spokesperson for the church provided the following statement.
“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 of First Baptist Church in 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 had been on staff at FBC Stanleyville since 2015 and became senior pastor last year. He previously served as a missionary in Ghana from 2012-14 with the International Mission Board.