Former Tyrell County teacher arrested, extradited to W. VA on obscene materials charges

A former Tyrell County Public Schools teacher has been arrested in North Carolina on charges related to sharing obscene materials with underage female students at a school he taught at located in West Virginia.



James Hugh Stehlin Jr., age 34, has been charged by West Virginia authorities with three counts of sending obscene matter with the intent to seduce a minor.

Stehlin allegedly used SnapChat, Facebook, and Instagram to send nude photos to underage girls.

According to media reports, Stehlin was extradited to West Virginia on Oct. 4. and is being held at the Southern Regional Jail under a $50,000 cash-only bond.

The West Virginia-based Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported more details on the charges against Stehlin:

The victims were students at Princeton Middle School when Stehlin taught there, according to a criminal complaint filed by Mercer County Sheriff’s Department Detective Steve Sommers. However, it wasn’t until years later — when the victims were 15 and 16 — when the alleged crimes occurred. Stehlin had moved out of state.

According to Sommers’ complaint, one victim said that around June 2020, Stehlin added her and several other juveniles to Snapchat and Facebook. The girls knew him as a previous teacher at Princeton Middle School and accepted his friend requests.

“After adding them, Mr. Stehlin would make comments through Facebook Messenger and Snapchat about how they looked and how ‘grown up’ they have become,” Sommers said.

“After adding them, Mr. Stehlin would make comments through Facebook Messenger and Snapchat about how they looked and how ‘grown up’ they have become,” Sommers said.

Stehlin is from the Edenton area of North Carolina, where he was arrested by law enforcement.

Licensure records on file in North Carolina show that Stehlin had a teaching license in the state which expired in June of this year:

Current Date: 10/06/2021 11:31 AM
License Number: 1225712
Name: Stehlin, James Hugh JR
License Type: Educator
License Status: Current
Expiration Date: 06/30/2021
Effective Date: 07/01/2018
License Area(s): Health and Physical Education

It appears that Stehlin had been working for Tyrell County Public Schools beginning in August of 2018.

Stehlin was apparently allowed to resign after the district found out about the criminal allegations against him.  State law requires the district to report Stehlin’s resignation to the state board of education, however, it is unclear whether or not Tyrell schools complied.

A cached article, dated Aug. 18, 2021, from the Roanoke Beacon, reported on Stehlin’s resignation:

A former Tyrrell County Schools teacher, who resigned in mid-July after school officials discovered he was the subject of a criminal investigation, is charged in West Virginia with sending nude photos of himself to teens in that Mercer County location.

James Stehlin Jr., 34, was hired in Tyrrell County in August 2018 as a health and physical education teacher at the middle school in Columbia.

TCS Superintendent Oliver Holley says Stehlin was subject to the mandatory background check by a third-party vendor and passed the review. Holley says Stehlin was the subject of no disciplinary actions during his time at TCS.

Stehlin was not been accused of any crimes in North Carolina. It is unclear if law enforcement in Tyrell County is working on the case with police and legal officials in West Virginia.

While not arrested or charged for crimes in North Carolina, Stehlin did teach in the state and has been added to the list of school employee arrests tracked by this website. He is the 18th such arrest this year.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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