CHEVY CHASE, Md. - Montgomery County police spoke to worried parents at a meeting Wednesday night to answer some tough questions after a parent was recently arrested and accused of illegally recording at his children’s Silver Spring gymnastics studio.
Back in May, Silver Star Gymnastics and Fitness Club employees discovered recording equipment in a bag owned by Jonathan Oldale. Investigators then discovered two videos on Oldale's laptop appearing to show school-aged girls in a bathroom. However, these videos did not come from the gymnastics studio.
The police’s investigation took five months. In October, Oldale was arrested and charged with visual surveillance of another person in a private place without consent.
Some parents are outraged that police did not notify the Silver Star community of an investigation when the recording equipment was first discovered in May.
Montgomery County police said within a week, they executed search warrants. After having executed those warrants, police said they felt confident the threat was mitigated. They said they were not at liberty to release information during an active investigation.
Oldale was actively involved with several youth organizations in his community. He was on the PTA for Somerset Elementary School and also volunteered for the Boy Scouts. However, he continued those activities throughout the summer during the investigation.
Parents wanted to know why it took so long to uncover that evidence and police said they had a large amount of data to sort through.
“Once we recovered those devices, we have to look at all of the digital evidence and the data that is contained in them,” said Montgomery County Police Commander Paul Liquorie. “And that takes a lot of resources and the department has cases from all over the county. We are constantly prioritizing those cases and obviously all of the data that may have been recovered in those.”
“The backlog in analyzing evidence is a massive problem that we need to call upon our county leaders to fix,” said Jennifer Alvaro, a mother whose children attend the gymnastics studio. “If there is that much of a backlog, they need to fix that with funding, with resources. If that unit is that short-staffed, then we need to fund more positions in that unit.”
Investigators say they are still sorting through data and could bring more charges if victims are found.
A preliminary trial date for Oldale has been scheduled for Dec. 14.
Concerned parents can contact police via email regarding their child's contact with the suspect at OldaleInvestigation@montgomerycountymd.gov.