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Press Release

Man Accused of Secretly Recording Women in St. Louis Area

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Missouri

ST. LOUIS – A man has been indicted on a federal charge and accused of secretly recording women in the St. Louis area.

Erik Elsasser, 37, was indicted in U.S. District Court in St. Louis March 27 on one felony count of distribution of child pornography. He pleaded not guilty Thursday.

The indictment accuses Elsasser of distributing images and videos containing child pornography online between August 2022 and August 2023. 

A motion seeking to have Elsasser held in jail until trial says he surreptitiously recorded a partially nude 17-year-old female in a store changing room on Aug. 18, 2023. Investigators found other videos made in changing rooms, as well as nearly 200 successful or attempted “upskirt” recordings and three recordings of a woman using a residential bathroom, taken through a window, the motion says. There were also indications that some of those videos, as well as child sexual abuse material, had been distributed online via Telegram.

The distribution charge carries a penalty of five to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

Charges set forth in a criminal complaint are merely accusations and do not constitute proof of guilt.  Every defendant is presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.

The case was investigated by the Brentwood Police Department, the St. Charles County Police Department and the FBI.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Hayes is prosecuting the case.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Department of Justice Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit


Robert Patrick, Public Affairs Officer,

Updated April 4, 2024

Project Safe Childhood