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Thaxton man to serve 8 years on child porn charges

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By Tom Wilmoth

    A Thaxton man will spend eight years in prison, following a contested sentencing hearing last week in Bedford County Circuit Court.

    Judge James Updike sentenced David Wayne Seabolt, 58, to 18 years in prison, with 10 years suspended on his10 felony convictions of possessing, 1st count and 10 felony convictions, subsequent offense.
    Seabolt had several people speak on his behalf at the sentencing hearing, including his mother, a family friend and a psychologist. Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Wes Nance called Seabolt’s probation officer.
    Seabolt’s attorney, David Damico of Roanoke, tried to make the case that the sex offender evaluation completed on him showed him to be low risk as a hands-on offender and that his collection of child porn was smaller than many who face similar charges.
    Nance said Seabolt had many photos, in addition to actual child pornography, which he classified as child erotica—children in bathing suits and lingerie, suggestively posed, but without actual nudity. Nance also pointed out that Seabolt had a drawer of girls clothing in his home that he couldn’t explain.
    In addition, Nance emphasized that Seabolt had photos he had taken of girls without their knowledge at events such as Centerfest and at Blue Ridge Parkway overlooks. Nance said Seabolt tried to explain away his collection of photos and girls underwear.
    Nance argued Seabolt was more than just a collector. “His denials made him a greater risk,” Nance said. “If he can’t take responsibility for his actions he’s not amenable for treatment.”
    Following his release from prison, Seabolt will be on 10 years of good behavior with five years of supervised probation. He will have to register as a sex offender and have no unsupervised contact with a child under the age of 18. Seabolt’s access to a computer and the Internet will also be restricted.
    Nance said he believes this is the highest active sentencing he has gotten for these types of charges at a contested hearing.
    Last July, investigators with the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office, assigned to the Southern Virginia Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (SOVA ICAC), assisted the Bedford Police Department with an investigation initiated by a citizen’s complaint. Seabolt was arrested in August.
    According to Nance, Seabolt admitted to investigators that he had visited mostly child model sites, but when he found them, visited child pornography sites. Nance said investigators found more than 1,000 images in Seabolt’s possession of children in various states of dress, including more than 200 of hard core pornography images or videos of children. Those included images of children engaging in sex acts with other children, themselves, adults and even in one case, an animal.
    The investigation led to Seabolt as a person of interest, and a search warrant was executed at his residence.  Evidence was recovered, that led to the arrest of Seabolt for the alleged child pornography violations. He has been held without bond since late August.