A high school boys’ basketball coach has been charged for filming players on the team taking showers in the locker room.
Zachary Patrick Roberts, 28, who was a coach at the Janesville-Waldorf-Pemberton High School in Minnesota is facing multiple charges for his alleged use of a pen-camera to record naked boys in the school’s locker room.
According to the criminal complaint filed in Faribault County District Court, the charges include four felony counts of interfering with the privacy of a minor and four felony counts of stalking a minor with sexual or aggressive intent, reports Mankato Free Press.
The discovery happened in December 2015 when a player of the basketball team discovered a camera disguised as a pen in the gym bag belonging to Roberts.
The boys had just finished a game and were in the locker room for shower and change before going home.
One of them was looking for a pen to write down a play and found one from Roberts’ gym bag.
The teenage boy however discovered the pen was actually a camera.
The team tried to view the files in the camera but couldn’t. They then alerted the school authorities who initiated an internal investigation.
Roberts was asked to turn in his device by the school authorities, who then provided it to the Janesville Police Department.
According to MFP, Police Chief Dave Ulmen had viewed the files and found ‘significant evidence’ on two.
The first file was 15 minutes long and included footage of the pen camera being placed and manipulated so it was focused on the entrance to the showers, as well as footage of unclothed boys going in and out of the shower.
The second file which was 13 minutes long included more footage of unclothed boys, and towards the end of it, showed the players discovering the camera, the criminal complaint described.
Four of the Janesville basketball players aged 14-15 were identified in the footages.
During an interview with the police on 24 December, Roberts admitted to buying the camera to film boys in the locker room, reports CBS Minnesota.
According to the criminal complaint, Roberts also revealed that he had done it 40-50 times in the past and ‘admitted he would then use the videos for self-sexual gratification.’
The investigation had taken several months as the evidence had to be reviewed by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which works on all investigations into child pornography, said the police.
Chief Ulmen shared that a ‘significant number’ of other electronics, including flashdrives, external hard-drives, digital cameras, a laptop and a cellphone, were seized from Roberts and analysed, but were found to not contain incriminating material.
Robert’s been ordered to appear in the Faribault County District Court on 18 July.
On top of being a coach, Roberts was a student council adviser and also served as a choir teacher, helping to direct school musicals and lead the show choir for the district.
He also worked as a youth coordinator for the St. Ann Catholic Church in Janesville.
If convicted, he faces a maximum of 48 years in prison and a $100,000 fine.
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