A Maryland man has been arrested on charges of producing child pornography after he allegedly filmed children in the bathroom of his home and hid a camera in a bathroom at a gymnastics center in Silver Spring.
Jonathan Oldale, 54, was arrested Friday after the FBI, U.S. Attorney for Maryland and local police were warned of a suspicious incident and then uncovered evidence of illegal dark web activity.
Investigators say they found footage at Oldale's home of at least 30 children undressing after "splash parties" at his home.
Local police began investigating in October when an employee of Silver Stars Gymnastics and Fitness in Silver Spring reported finding a backpack with a hidden camera in a bathroom, prosecutors said. An investigation revealed the backpack and camera belonged to Oldale. His children reportedly took classes at the gym.
News4 reported that Oldale was arrested and charged with conducting visual surveillance of an individual in a private place without his/her consent with prurient intent. He was released on bond.
Police previously said detectives had not found any video of victims from the gymnastics studio.
Police searched Oldale's home in May 2017 and the electronic crimes unit seized and examined digital devices. A program had been used to wipe files from the computers, prosecutors said, but investigators say they found evidence that the computer had accessed files named consistently with child porn. References were also found to a dark web site that had hosted child porn before authorities shut it down in 2016.
Authorities also say they found evidence of a dark web browser installed on the computer. Dark web browsers are regularly used in the distribution of pictures and videos that exploit children.
Oldale's home was searched again the following July. Police found memory cards and cameras holding hundreds of videos filmed in Oldale's bathroom, prosecutors said.
The videos showed at least 30 different children undressing, showering and getting dressed. Investigators later discovered that Oldale hosted "splash parties" where kids got covered in grass. A witness told prosecutors Oldale made the children shower before they went home from the parties.
Investigators say Oldale used multiple cameras and can be seen on video checking the angles.
Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) officials say they banned Oldale from all school property when they learned of the charges.
"While the charges are connected to Mr. Oldale’s private residence, they involve dozens of school-aged children, many of whom attend MCPS schools. It is alleged that Mr. Oldale videotaped children during parties that he hosted at his home," school superintendent Jack R. Smith said in a letter to parents.
If convicted on charges of producing child pornography, Oldale faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.
The FBI, Montgomery County Police and the U.S. District Attorney for Maryland all helped to investigate.
Montgomery County schools are offering counseling to families and students.
CORRECTION (April 16, 2018, 2:48 p.m. ET): A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Oldale allegedly filmed children at Silver Stars Gymnastics and Fitness. While police say he hid a camera in a bathroom at the gymnastics studio, no video showing victims there was found.