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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Maryland

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, April 1, 2019

Chevy Chase Man Who Secretly Videotaped Children in His Home Sentenced to 20 Years in Federal Prison for 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 – U.S. District Judge Paula Xinis sentenced Jonathan Mark Oldale, age 55, of Chevy Chase, Maryland, today to 20 years in federal prison, followed by lifetime supervised release, on charges of production and possession of child pornography, arising from Oldale secretly filming children using hidden cameras in the bathrooms of his home.  As a result of his conviction, Oldale must register as a sex offender in the places 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 must pay a $400,000 money judgment in lieu of forfeiture of Oldale’s interest in his residence, which Oldale used to facilitate his crimes.

The sentence was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Robert K. Hur; Acting Special Agent in Charge Jennifer L. Moore 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.

“Jonathan Oldale invited children into his home in order to surreptitiously photograph them while they were changing clothes or using the bathroom, and attempted to do the same thing in public facilities that catered to children,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.  “This sentence sends a clear message that we will bring to justice those who would victimize innocent children.”

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 in Silver Spring 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 among other items, three “spy cameras,” five  MicroSD cards (small memory cards used in cameras and phones to store information), and five USB drives.  All of the removable media contained videos created using surreptitious “spy” cameras that had been placed by Oldale in bathrooms in his residence.  Another MicroSD card contained the titles of encrypted files that had been erased from the card, and the titles were indicative of child pornography.

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 79 children who appear in the videos taken in the bathroom, approximately 52 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 subfolders 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.

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.

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Topic(s): 
Project Safe Childhood
Component(s): 
Contact: 
Marcia Murphy (410) 209-4854
Updated April 1, 2019