Apr 21, 2023 - News

Daughter of prominent Richmond family held in jail over child pornography charge

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The daughter of one of Richmond’s most prominent families will remain in prison until her trial for child pornography and attempted exploitation charges, a federal magistrate ruled this week.

What’s happening: Authorities arrested Eleanor Hunton Hoppe of Charlottesville last month after alleging she distributed child pornography and volunteered to help abuse a young girl in online chats with an undercover agent.

  • She is the granddaughter of Eppa Hunton IV, who led Hunton and Williams, now Hunton Andrews Kurth, the second-largest law firm in the state.

Driving the news: Hoppe had cited her family connections in a bid to win her pretrial release, per court records. She proposed appointing her father, also a Richmond attorney, as a “sufficient third-party custodian.”

  • The judge rejected the argument, noting in an order that “the government has proved by clear and convincing evidence that no combination of conditions could ensure the safety of the community.”
  • She's being held in the D.C. Jail, per the facility.

Context: Her case has drawn attention because of both the prominence of her family and her past work supporting child advocacy organizations, per the Daily Progress, which first reported her arrest.

Details: In a statement of facts presented by prosecutors, authorities allege Hoppe told an undercover agent she met on a fetish website that she wanted to chat about “taboo parenting.”

  • Authorities allege she sent him pornographic images of minors before they made plans for Hoppe to travel to a Warrenton hotel to abuse a young girl she believed was the agent’s daughter.
  • Police say they arrested her at the hotel.

Hoppe has pleaded not guilty, according to court records.

  • She is being represented by the federal public defender's office, which did not return an email from Axios seeking comment.
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