A man is facing child pornography charges after a 12-year-old boy told his parents he saw a man holding a watch over a bathroom stall door while he was changing in a locker room at the Andover (MN) YMCA.
On Tuesday, 53-year-old Robert Minor of Coon Rapids, MN, was charged with one count of stalking a victim under 18 with sexual or aggressive intent, two counts of use of minors in a sexual performance and four counts of possession of pornographic work involving minors, according to a statement issued by the Anoka County (MN) Attorney's Office.
Minor posted bail and was released. His next court appearance is scheduled for April 3.
The charges came after law enforcement made a March 2 search of the home where Minor lives with his parents. Officers found a watch capable of shooting digital video and still photos, and a search of Minor's computer produced files showing young male children undressing at the Andover and Coon Rapids Ys, as well as an unknown fitness facility.
Other child pornography also was found on Minor's computer, leading to Minor's arrest, according to a news release issued by the Anoka County Sheriff's Office.
Minor was arrested again by University of Minnesota police Thursday afternoon on suspicion of other crimes, according to local media outlets. Charges have not yet been filed.
The case was initially brought to law enforcement's attention after a boy noticed the suspicious activity in the Andover Y bathroom on Feb. 24.
"I'm thankful a child felt it was safe to talk to his parents about something he knew was not right, and that the YMCA had good policies in place," Tony Palumbo, Anoka County attorney, said in a statement. "The result is that law enforcement was able to put a stop to what the defendant was doing."
The boy described what the man was wearing, which allowed law enforcement to identify a suspect in the facility's surveillance footage with the help of the Y, Bette Fenton, vice president of marketing and communications for the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities, tells Club Industry.
For Fenton and Y staff members, the experience served as a reminder about the problems fitness facilities face as the technology members use evolves. The Ys of the Greater Twin Cities do not allow cell phones or recording devices in locker rooms, exercise areas or swimming areas. Signs about the policy are posted throughout the facilities,but people often use phones to listen to music while working out, making it more difficult to monitor potential misuse of technology, Fenton explains.
"Who would have thought a watch could be a video recording device?" Fenton says. "With this advancing technology, all of us have to figure out what are the new protocols and the new rules."
Fenton adds that the Ys have safety protocols in place and are reemphasizing their importance to staff, as well as advising people to be on high alert. Despite the situation, members have been supportive.
"Of course members have concerns, but they're so confident about the Y and confident in their relationship with us … that they know we're doing everything possible to avoid something like this," Fenton says.