A dance competition worker secretly video recorded girls in a dressing room and had more than 1,000 images of child pornography in his home computer, Orange County prosecutors said Tuesday. Potential additional victims were asked to come forward.
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Cypress police said 33-year-old Paul Michael Barbour of Long Beach hid a video camera inside a changing room at Cypress College and recorded girls between the ages of 12 and 15 who were performing at a dance competition Saturday. The mother of one of the girls discovered the camera and called police, authorities said.
The next day, investigators went to Barbour’s home and found more than 1,000 images in pictures and videos of child pornography on his computer. Prosecutors said the pictures were not related to the girls from the dance competition.
Barbour was charged with possession of child pornography with a sentencing enhancement allegation for possessing more than 600 child pornography images, including more than 10 images of a minor under the age of 12, the Orange County District Attorney’s office said. He also faced other drug-related charges.
Police said Barbour was a truck driver and emcee for a dance competition promotion company called Kids Artistic Revue. An official at the company told NBC4 that Barbour had no direct interaction with the dancers and coworkers were surprised by the allegations.
"Thye're just trying to have fun and dance," one parent told NBC4. "It's kind of like, heartbreaking that somebody would take advantage of these little kids."
In the video taken at the event, Barbour can be seen adjusting the camera, prosecutors said.
"When you have someone that's watching or collecting child pornography, and at the same time they are videotaping young women dressing and undressing in a dance competition or in kind of a locker room-type setting, we're always concerned about what that person's intent was," said Orange County Deputy District Attorney Bobby Taghavi.
During the search of Barbour's home, police also found about 22 pounds of drugs, including mushrooms and other hallucinogens. He is accused of growing the mushrooms to sell them.
Barbour made a brief court appearance Tuesday but did not enter a plea. He was being held on $100,000 bail.
If convicted, Barbour faces a maximum sentence of more than seven years behind bars.
The CFO of Kids Artistic Revue said the company did run background checks, but no red flags appeared. He was also run through the sex offender registry but there was no listing.
Anyone with information or who believes they have been a victim is asked to contact Cypress police at 714-229-6631 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Paul Carvo at 714-347-8794.
NBC4's Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.