Chevy Chase Man Who Secretly Videotaped Children In His Home Pleads Guilty To Federal Charges Of Production And Possession Of Child Pornography
Investigation Began When Camera Discovered in Bathroom of Gymnastics Facility; Produced Images of Dozens of Children Using Hidden Cameras in the Bathrooms of His Home
Greenbelt, Maryland – Jonathan Mark Oldale, age 55, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to federal charges of production and possession of child pornography, arising from Oldale secretly filming children using hidden cameras in the bathrooms of his home.
The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Baltimore Field Office; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.
According to Oldale’s plea agreement, on May 5, 2017, the Montgomery County Police Department received a complaint from an employee at a children’s gymnastics facility that Oldale had placed a backpack containing a camera disguised to look like an automobile key fob in a bathroom at the facility. The employee also told officers about a prior incident in which Oldale had left a backpack in the same bathroom. A search of Oldale’s residence on May 9, 2017, recovered electronic media, including three laptop computers. A subsequent forensic review of the computers revealed that two of the computers had installations of browsers used to access the “dark web,” and some of the files accessed had titles consistent with child pornography. The dark web is the part of the World Wide Web that requires specific software, configurations or authorization to access, allowing users and website operators to remain anonymous. One of the laptops had previously connected to a dark web site used to exchange child pornography. The third computer contained image and video files of children with exposed genitalia, including in public bathrooms.
On July 5, 2017, Montgomery County Police officers executed a second search warrant at Oldale’s residence and seized a cell phone, three “spy cameras,” six MicroSD cards (small memory cards used in cameras and phones to store information), and six USB drives. All of the removable media, except one MicroSD card, contained videos created using surreptitious “spy” camera that had been placed by Oldale in bathrooms in his residence.
Videos recorded in the bathrooms show that the cameras were placed at waist height or lower, for example under the sink and in a basket in the shower, and that multiple cameras were placed in a bathroom. The videos show that Oldale would enter the bathroom to adjust the cameras just before children entered the bathrooms and just after the children left. Between May and July 2017, Oldale recorded more than 1,000 videos using the hidden cameras in his bathrooms. The videos depict minor children changing into and out of bathing suits, taking showers, and using the toilet.
Children were invited to “splash parties” at Oldale’s residence in June and July 2017, including by e-mailed invitations sent to their parents. Children would become covered with grass while playing on an inflatable structure in the back yard. Oldale encouraged the children to change clothes or take showers before they went home. Of the approximately 84 children who appear in the videos taken in the bathroom, approximately 60 are depicted nude at some point in the videos.
Forensic analysis of the USB drives revealed that Oldale stored videos in a nested file folder structure. Subfolders were named for the month and within those folders were additional subfolders with event names, like party or camp. On two of the USB drives there were subfolder that included lists of children’s names followed by a description of the swimsuit worn by the child. In all, there were nine subfolders with names indicative of events and containing videos of children in the bathrooms at Oldale’s residence.
As part of his plea agreement, Oldale must register as a sex offender in the place where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student, under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). In addition, Oldale has agreed to the entry of a $400,000 money judgment in lieu of forfeiture of Oldale’s interest in his residence, which Oldale used to facilitate his crimes.
Oldale and the government have agreed that if the Court accepts the plea agreement Oldale will be sentenced to between 15 and 25 years in prison. U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis has scheduled sentencing for April 1, 2019 at 10 a.m.
This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by the United States Attorney’s Offices and the Criminal Division's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who sexually exploit children, and to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.justice.gov/psc. For more information about Internet safety education, please visit www.justice.gov/psc and click on the "Resources" tab on the left of the page.
United States Attorney Robert K. Hur commended the FBI, the Montgomery County Police Department, and the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office for their work in the investigation. Mr. Hur thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph R. Baldwin and Timothy F. Hagan, Jr., who are prosecuting the federal case.