The Orange County Sheriff’s Office seized multiple computers and other electronic devices last week after serving a search warrant on Stefan Winfried Anders — a fifth grade teacher at New Hope Elementary School in Hillsborough — in connection with a possible child pornography case.
Following a cyber tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in February, the center forwarded the information to the N.C. State Bureau of Investigation, according to a press release on Thursday from the sheriff's office. The bureau then worked to determine the subscriber information and location.
As jurisdiction was established, the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program at the sheriff’s office began investigating the situation.
Anders has been at New Hope Elementary since September 2016 and previously taught language arts at Alamance-Burlington Schools and Harnett County Schools, according to his LinkedIn account. The North Carolina State Board of Education Code of Conduct states that any ethical breach could result in license or revocation.
Anders has not been charged at this time.
Ashley Woodlief is the lead investigator for this case and a member of the ICAC.
“Due to the open and ongoing investigation, we cannot release much of the details, obviously, to protect the integrity of the investigation,” Woodlief said.
Anders has been suspended from his position in Orange County Schools as the investigation continues.
“The next step in the investigation is for us to review the evidence seized pursuant to the search warrant. At this time, we are unaware of any students at New Hope Elementary being the subject in any of the photographs,” Woodlief said in the press release from the sheriff’s office.
Woodlief additionally emphasized the seriousness with which the department is taking the investigation.
“Child pornography involves a significant betrayal of trust. We prioritize protecting children and seeking justice on their behalf,” Woodlief said.
No one from administration at New Hope Elementary School was available for comment on the matter.
“As the investigation progresses and as details are able to be made available, they will be made available in a timely manner,” Woodlief said.
Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Office at 919-245-2900 or Investigator Woodlief directly at 919-245-2925.
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