Sanderson High teacher facing exploitation charges involving minors

DeJuan Hoggard Image
Wednesday, November 9, 2022
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He is accused of distributing video of children ranging in age from 7-12 years old engaging in sexual acts.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A Sanderson High School teacher is facing 10 counts of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

Eric Kyle Belk, 37, is accused of distributing disturbing video of at least one boy and several girls ranging in age from 7-12 years old engaging in sexual acts, according to court documents.

Knightdale police arrested Belk on Tuesday after a months-long investigation that included the State Bureau of Investigation.

Second-degree charges mean the accused allegedly either sent, received (includes downloading), or exchanged the content and did so knowing it was illegal.

"I was in his research methods class for the first few days this year," said one Sanderson student, who didn't want to be identified. "That's basically a TA position. He just kind of gave me some weird vibes. I did not really want to stay in that class for too long. I'm not sure if it was just a gut feeling. So I switched out of it after a few days."

Belk has been suspended from teaching.

"I had him as a teacher. I had him last year and he's, I mean he's a great guy. I liked him," said another student, who didn't want to be named. "He's really nice. He's really helpful. So other than that, I think it just caught me by surprise more than anything.

The student, a senior said he never heard of any strange behavior about the teacher.

"It really just came out of nowhere," he said. "So it's really caught everybody by surprise. So everybody's kind of freaking out a little bit because it's like we just saw him two days ago."

The other student disagreed.

"We heard the news last night and it spread really quickly on social media," he said. "And just a lot of people saying he looked at people a little strange. Some weird vibes they got from him."

The student said he wasn't surprised.

"I'm not too surprised," he said. "A couple years ago, there was another Sanderson teacher who was charged with someone similar, if I'm not wrong. So, it doesn't surprise me too much. But it is disappointing."

Police said they received a cyber tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in August. The tip indicated that someone was utilizing social media platforms to download and share child pornography. During the investigation, police determined that Belk, a Knightdale resident, was the suspect

Knightdale Police said the incident under investigation did not occur at the high school and does not appear to involve any Sanderson students.

Belk made his first court appearance Wednesday morning. His appearance lasted less than one minute. Belk didn't say anything other than his name. He's represented by a private attorney.

Family members at the hearing declined to comment.

Belk is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Each charge is punishable by up to 88 months in prison.