PLEASANT GROVE — Criminal charges were filed Thursday against a Pleasant Grove man accused of secretly filming teenage foster children and adopted children in his house with hidden cameras.
The 57-year-old is charged in 4th District Court with three counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child, a first-degree felony, and 20 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, a second-degree felony. KSL has opted not to name him to protect the children.
On Jan. 3, a 15-year-old boy discovered "that his adoptive father had been surreptitiously recording his and other siblings' nakedness in a home bathroom for at least the past year," according to charging documents.
When police arrived at the house, the man admitted to having two hidden cameras, but claimed it was to "keep an eye" on the children, the charges state. But he also allegedly told officers they would find videos of nude teen boys and that he "just like(d) to look."
Police say one camera was hidden inside a candlestick holder in the bathroom.
The man also told investigators the he would spank one son in his bedroom, behind closed doors, while the boy was naked, according to the charges.
"This unique technique was justified because the (boy) had ADHD and could not 'focus' on the discipline being administered if his clothes were on," the father contended, according to the charges.
In a Utah County Jail report, police stated another adult told investigators the father "has been known on a regular basis to enter that bathroom immediately before and immediately after any child residents used it to shower. The complaint explained that she believes John is entering the bathroom before and after it is used by the child residents to shower for the purpose of setting up the hidden camera and then retrieving it when they are finished."
Pleasant Grove police also noted in the report that they had found an "extremely large amount of pornographic videos and pictures" on the man's cellphone.
"Upon a complete search of his cellphone, over 100 pictures and videos" were found, the report states.
Bail was set at just under $300,000, cash only. A hearing on bail is scheduled for Jan. 28.