The chief custodian who was responsible for the school's video surveillance system resigned from his job at a Camden County catholic school after pictures -- some nude -- he allegedly took of students with cameras hidden in the school were found on his school-issued cell phone.
NBC10 first brought you the story of this investigation Tuesday night. In a letter sent to parents Tuesday, Gloucester Catholic Junior/Senior High School Principal John Colman says the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into the former employee after he allegedly circulated photos of students.
On Wednesday, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office announced the arrest of John Martin, 41, of Jefferson Avenue in Wenonah. Martin was charged with third-degree invasion of privacy and released on his own recognizance as details of his alleged deeds emerged.
Prosecutors say Martin, who worked for 18 years at the school eventually running the maintenance department and high school surveillance system, allegedly installed hidden video cameras around the building to capture students and teachers -- mostly females -- in various stages of undress. The quarter-inch pinhole-size cameras were hidden in ventilation ducts and smoke detectors and placed in eight rooms -- some where students changed -- including classrooms, the choir room, weight room, backstage area, maintenance area and football area.
“Of course I’m upset and sad and more shocked than anything else,” said parent Toni DeJesse.
Martin allegedly linked the hidden cameras into the school's existing surveillance system. He's accused of possessing hours of video and many photos which, according to prosecutors, appear to have been screen shots taken with his cell phone.
Prosecutors say a witness informed law enforcement last week of the alleged images. The investigation came to light the day before Thanksgiving and Martin resigned his position at the school the same day, according to Colman’s letter.
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“In the past few days we’ve been reviewing data on the school computers, on Mr. Martin’s computers, on his cell phone, and we found a wealth of images,” said county prosecutor’s office spokesman Jason Laughlin.
Prosecutors say that Martin shared the photos with at least two other people. It wasn't immediately clear how far back Martin was allegedly taking videos of students in the school.
More charges could be coming against Martin and the people he allegedly shared the images with even though the images weren't widely distributed.
“We don’t have any information that he put them on the Internet or attempted to sell them,” Laughlin said.
As part of his release, Martin isn't allowed anywhere near the high school, students or staff.
Prosecutors say they hope to identify some of the victims in the videos and say those victims will be contacted by law enforcement.
"We at the school will notify the parents of any students whose photograph is identified so that they can be alerted to this situation and so that the students can be provided whatever counseling or other assistance might be necessary,” Colman said in his letter.
Colman promised to keep parents in the loop about the investigation.
On Wednesday, the school issued a letter that said they would "continue to work to assure the well-being of our students and ask that you keep us in your prayers."
No one answered the door at Martin’s home Wednesday night.