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Loudoun art teacher accused in child porn case deemed eligible for bond

Ralph Watts Conrad

The Loudoun County Public School art teacher accused of possessing child pornography has been granted bond.

Ralph Watts Conrad III, 43 of Hamilton, who is charged with two counts of possession of child pornography and one count of distribution of child pornography, was given a $7,500 bond Sept. 26 in the Loudoun County Circuit Court.

As a condition of his bond, Judge Burke McCahill prohibited Conrad from unsupervised visits with children under 16 and using the Internet, computers, tablets or smartphones. Additionally, he will receive pre-trial supervision and must not try to get a passport.

Conrad has been at the Loudoun County Adult Detention Center since his arrest Sept. 10. The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office was notified of Conrad's alleged activities Aug. 20 and investigated him for three weeks. On Sept. 10, police executed a search warrant at Conrad's home, seizing a laptop computer, a desktop computer, several servers, thumb drives, zip drives and mobile phones. Thus far, it appears no Loudoun children are involved.

For the past 15 years, Conrad has worked as an art teacher in Loudoun County. He works at Algonkian Elementary School in Sterling, but in past years has also served as an itinerant instructor at Belmont Station, Lowes Island, Frances Hazel Reid, Mill Run and Creighton's Corner elementary schools. He is currently suspended without pay.

Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Alejandra Amato argued against Conrad's bond, noting that while he only has three charges against him, the investigation is still ongoing as authorities comb through Conrad's confiscated materials.

“Authorities have located a minimum of 514 movies with child pornography,” Amato said. “This is of grave concern to the commonwealth.”

Additionally, Amato said that while none of the videos featured Loudoun children, Conrad has a history of bad behavior with local students, citing an incident where he used expletives to describe a student's buttocks and breasts.

But defense attorney Caleb Kershner said that situation is misrepresented.

“It was more inappropriate language than sexually suggestive,” defense attorney Caleb Kershner said. Kershner said that Conrad told a student “you don't want your [expletive deleted] and [expletive deleted] out like all the other girls.” The parent of the child ultimately declined to pursue the initial complaint against Conrad.

Additionally, Kershner noted that Conrad had no prior arrests, has lived in Loudoun for 40 years, had family in Loudoun and no passport.

“He is entitled to a bond unless the commonwealth can prove he is a flight risk or a danger to the community,” Kershner said.

McCahill ultimately agreed with Kershner's reasoning, though he noted Conrad's additional potential charges.

“But I have to focus on charges at hand,” McCahill said.


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