NCSO: Men arrested for alleged molestation

Photo by Howard Reed

Photo by Howard Reed

COVINGTON -- The Newton County Sheriff's Office arrested two men this week in unrelated cases for allegedly taking surreptitious nude photos of female children in their homes.

The suspects' names are being withheld to protect the identity of the victims.

A 32-year-old stepfather has been charged in connection with the molestation of his 13-year-old stepdaughter, with alleged incidents going back to when she was 11. Charges include sexual battery, child molestation, enticing a child for indecent purposes, eavesdropping which invades the privacy of another and distribution of child pornography.

According to NCSO spokesman Lt. Tyrone Oliver, the young girl told her mother of an inappropriate touching incident.

"The mother came into the Sheriff's Office to file a complaint," Oliver said, adding that when investigators executed a search warrant at the home, the presence of the cameras came to light.

Oliver said not only do investigators believe the man took inappropriate photos of the child using a cell phone, video cameras were set up inside the bathroom and on the outside of the residence, pointing into the bathroom.

"Apparently this has been going on for little over a year. Photos were made ... at one point of her sleeping, while taking a shower ... and other inappropriate pictures ... it was obvious she was oblivious to what was going on," Oliver said.

Oliver said computers and other evidence were confiscated at the home.

"We believe he was uploading them (the photos) on the computer based on the photos we have," he said.

In an unrelated case, a second man was arrested on similar charges in connection with 2007 incidents involving his then-12-year-old niece. He was charged with eavesdropping which invades the privacy of another and sexual exploitation of a child.

Oliver said that the victim had made allegations in 2007 that her uncle was touching her inappropriately and making suggestive comments to her. He said there was insufficient evidence at the time to charge the man; however, new evidence was recently obtained.

"The aunt happened to stumble across some photos of this little girl back from several years ago," Oliver said. "There were hidden cameras in the house at the time of the incident between 2005 and 2007."

Oliver said the child occasionally stayed overnight at the home.

"When the photos were recently brought to light, he was arrested," Oliver said.