SILVER SPRING, Md. - A Chevy Chase man was arrested for secretly recording in the restroom of a gymnastics and fitness club, according to police.
Montgomery County police have charged 54-year-old Jonathan Oldale with conducting visual surveillance of another person in a private place without consent.
Police say on May 5, officers responded to the Silver Star Gymnastics and Fitness Club in Silver Spring for a suspicious situation. An employee said he found a backpack underneath a Wet Floor sign on the floor of the bathroom. He told police that inside the backpack was a vehicle key fob with a camera placed inside of it. The employee said the camera was hot and a light on the camera was illuminated, indicating that the device was in the “on” position.
The employee took the camera out of the backpack and waited to see if anyone would retrieve the bag, police say. According to the employee, he saw Oldale take the bag from the restroom. The man then went to the front desk twice to ask the receptionist if anyone had turned in a key fob.
The employee told police that about three weeks before, he found the same backpack on the floor that contained various cords and wires in the unisex bathroom. One of the parents enrolled in gymnastics classes at the gym, who was identified as Oldale, approached the employee and said the bag belonged to him and took it.
Investigators conducted search warrants at Oldale’s home and car and found an instruction manual for a key fob camera in his vehicle.
Police say a search through Oldale’s computer that was inside his home found two videos of unidentified females, who appeared to be school-age, being recorded while they were urinating in a bathroom. Police believe the videos were downloaded online and not original videos.
Detectives have not found any videos of anyone from the gymnastics studio, Montgomery County police say.
On October 11, an arrest warrant was obtained for Oldale. He turned himself to police a week later. He has been released on bond.
The owner of Silver Star Gymnastics and Fitness Club said she has been in business for 25 years and was extremely distraught after hearing about what happened. She credits her employees for taking immediate action.
“That is what you're supposed to do and that is how you keep kids safe – by speaking up,” said Cherie Hope. “I think there has been a lot of instances in all sports where people know about something that has happened and they stay quiet, and I don't believe that. I think when you see something, you react.”
Some parents are thanking Hope, but she said some parents do not know if they will be bringing their kids back to her gym.
“To think that you can work hard for 25 years and something that you didn't bring on and you didn’t do wrong, and you did what you thought was right, and people not coming here for that, if that's the cost, it's the cost,” the owner said. “But I still stand by I did what I thought was right.”
Detectives spent the summer investigating this case. During that time, Hope said they asked her not to say anything. She also said police did not make her aware of when they were planning on making an arrest.