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Task force arrests Moyock men on child porn charges

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Richard Bell

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From staff reports

Saturday, March 17, 2018

CURRITUCK — A Moyock man has been arrested on child pornography charges in connection with a multi-state operation through the National Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.

N.C. State Bureau of Investigation agents and Currituck County sheriff’s detectives arrested Richard Wayne Bell, 73, of Moyock, for possession of child pornography. Bell was a church deacon and served as an administrator in a church daycare program, according to information released by the N.C. Department of Public Safety.

SBI Special Agent in Charge Alan K. Flora of the SBI Computer Crimes Unit, who serves as the commander of the state’s ICAC Task Force, said Friday that while Bell was identified as a church daycare administrator, at this point the SBI is not aware of any crimes committed against children from the church or daycare where he worked.

According to Currituck Sheriff Susan Johnson, Bell is charged with six counts of 3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor and three counts of second-degree exploitation of a minor. He is being held at Currituck Detention Center in lieu of a $60,000.00 secured bond.

Johnson said a second Moyock man, John Louis Kieffer, was also charged in Operation Southern Impact II. Keiffer is charged with nine counts of 3rd degree sexual exploitation of a minor. He is being held at Currituck Detention Center in lieu of a $45,000 secured bond.

According to Johnson, the investigation that led to Kieffer’s arrest was separate from the one that led to Bell’s arrest. It’s unknown if the two men know each other. Kieffer’s occupation is listed as government employee, but it wasn’t clear which government agency or what his job title is.

Other arrests in North Carolina that were part of Operation Southern Impact II included cases in Durham County, Macon County, Cherokee County, Guilford County, Rowan County and the city of Monroe. Flora said a total of eight North Carolina men were arrested, ranging in age from 32 to 73.

Flora expressed his gratitude to all agencies and officers who took part in the operation.

“Much of what we do happens behind the scenes due to the sensitive issues of crimes against children and the need to respect the privacy of the victims,” Flora said. “Operation Southern Impact II highlights the types of investigations ICAC Task Force officers deal with on a daily basis. It is important to understand that people who prey on children walk among us everywhere. They are in our schools, our churches, and hidden in plain sight in all of our neighborhoods. Many of them believe that they are operating anonymously on the internet, but I assure you they can be caught when adequate resources are committed to that cause.”

Operation Southern Impact II was a mutually coordinated operation among eight southeastern states.

The National ICAC Task Force Program consists of more than 4,000 local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, other related criminal justice agencies and prosecutor’s offices.

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