She Was Trusted With Kids at a Church Daycare. Feds Say She Exploited Them to Make Child Porn

Some details listed on the warrants are too graphic to report.

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WGHP

A North Carolina woman was sentenced Monday to 50 years in prison followed by 20 years of supervised release for production and distribution of child pornography.

Alyson Brooke Saunders, 25, of Greensboro, pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography on Nov. 5, 2020.

According to court documents, in or about January and February 2019, while employed at day care facility Greensboro church’s day school, Saunders admitted to using five minor victims in her care to create sexually explicit images and videos, including some in which she also engaged in hands-on sexual abuse of some of the children. Saunders then sent these images and videos to a person in London, with the knowledge that he intended to post them on the internet.

“The defendant in this case exploited her position as a caregiver to produce sexually explicit images of vulnerable young children with the purpose of providing the images to a co-conspirator,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas L. McQuaid of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Thanks to a proactive investigation by our law enforcement partners and the department’s continued commitment to combatting child sexual exploitation, the defendant was apprehended and received a significant penalty for her heinous crimes.”

“When people in positions of trust and responsibility exploit children it not only steals the child’s innocence, it can also teach them not to trust any more, which can cause lifelong trauma,” said Special Agent in Charge Ronnie Martinez of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) North Carolina. “Thanks to the great work done by HSI and its law enforcement partners, this predator will no longer be able to victimize children or spread those disturbing images”

Fellowship Day School sent parents this letter on March 22, 2019:

We at the Fellowship Day School are committed to full transparency with the families as we deal with the situation that first came to light on March 7, 2019. The only limits on this commitment are: 1. Protecting the privacy of the families whose children were involved; and 2. Avoiding interference with the criminal investigation. At this point, we do not have much additional information, but we want to provide this update in any event.

To the best of our knowledge, the criminal investigation by the federal Department of Homeland Security and the State Bureau of Investigation is ongoing. We do not have any new details about where that process stands. Our understanding is that investigators in matters like this tend to keep details confidential while the investigation is going on. For example, no one at the School knows any details about the photos other than what one parent (of one of the children) described at the March 8 parents’ meeting. Melissa Mitchell, the School’s Executive Director, is the only person associated with the School who knows the names of the five children, and that information is being kept in strict confidence.

As far as we know, the investigation still relates to only the same five children and the same one employee. We do not have any information or belief that any other children or any additional employees were involved.

A few people have asked whether the School is withholding information for some reason. Except for the names of the children, the answer is no. If you believe that there is information that the investigators need to know, please contact the lead investigator, Special Agent Cook.

We have been asked by many people why the employee has not been arrested. We do not know and we don’t have any more information about that question than anyone else (other than the investigators) has.

To our knowledge, Special Agent Charles Cook remains the lead investigator for this matter.

As soon as we learn additional information, we will provide another update to everyone. The only limits are the same two as always: protecting the privacy of the families and cooperating with the criminal investigators.

A few additional things;

1. This situation has been reported to Child Protective Services. We are not sure that this was required, since federal and state investigators are already involved, but we provided this notice just in case. Our notice did not provide the names of the children involved but we will provide this if requested by CPS.

2. Fellowship Presbyterian Church, which operates the Day School, has appointed a Task Force whose job is to look at the security that was already in place at the time of the incidents, consider further security measures, and act as a point of contact with the investigators and Bob King. Bob is an Elder at the Church and is an experienced attorney who has helped

other organizations respond to crises. Bob is helping the Church and School understand and coordinate with the investigators. Bob is not charging for his time.

3. If you have suggestions for the Task Force, please email them to Tom [redacted] at [redacted]. Tom is the Chair of the Task Force.

4. As most people already know, the employee at issue is related to the Assistant Executive Director at the School. The Assistant Director is as shocked and heart-broken as everyone else at the School, plus she is dealing with the impact of this on her family. For the Assistant Director’s sake and to avoid any concerns as to appearance, she is not involved in communications with the investigators or with the Task Force.

5. The School has investigated the availability of counseling services for any parent or child who may want this. The list of Greensboro-area counselors who may be of assistance is attached.

Last, we ask for everyone’s continued prayers. The Day School is a non-profit operation that exists solely to help children and their families. Please know that Pastor Nancy Dederer is available for conversation and that our congregation continues to uphold our Day School children, families, and staff in prayer. Grace and peace.

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