CLEVELAND - A man is facing 78 counts related to pornography after the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office says he was secretly recording family members.
An undercover investigator with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force responded to an Internet ad posted by 59-year-old Allen Warner. The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office said Warner wanted to trade secretly recorded videos of "loved ones" doing sexual acts.
"I think just the nature of his technology, he was able to create a lot of hidden cameras out of everyday objects. And when we went to these victims and told them this was the possibility, and that this may have been what's happening and actually found these devices still in their homes, that sort of struck me." Said David Frattare, Investigator with the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
On Oct. 17, Prosecutors said Warner met with an undercover agent and showed the man, who he believed was a father willing to record his daughter nude, his surveillance equipment. Prosecutors said Warner had alarm clocks and DVD players containing hidden cameras.
Officers searched his car and found 80 video tapes, baby monitors, sex toys, Sony Handycam, cell phones and child porn, prosecutors said. Task force members also searched his home in Bainbridge and a storage unit in Warrensville Heights, where they found more sex toys, DVD players, DVDs, VHS tapes and a duffel bag with stuffed animals and alcohol.
Prosecutors said the victims on the recordings were children that knew Warner, and current and former mistresses. Assistant Prosecutor, John C. Hanley told NewsChannel5 the three known victims are female, two of them minors.
"It's the kind of thing that no one's ever expecting to hear. I don't think anyone assumes that some detectives are going to come to their house and say the most intimate moments of your life for the last six to seven years are on video," said Hanley.
"One of these victims was unaware that Warner was married and lived less than 30 miles away. Investigators successfully located and removed the hidden cameras, some of which were still actively recording in the known victims' houses," the prosecutor's office said.
Warner was indicted on 50 counts of pandering sexually oriented matter involving a minor, 25 counts of illegal use of a minor in nudity oriented material, two counts of voyeurism and one count of possession criminal tools. More charges are expected. He is currently out on $250,000 bond.
"You're just heart-sick for the family members that have to endure this," said Melissa Thomas, a neighbor of Warner's. Thomas told us she is an instructor at radKIDS and teaches children how to protect themselves from dangerous situations and predators.
Almost speechless, Thomas couldn't believe what prosecutors said was happening just next-door. In her classes, Thomas says she tells students, "It could be somebody who lives next-door. It could be a family member. You're never too far away … I teach kids on the things they need to recognize to keep safe."
As to the Warner's, Thomas told NewsChannel5 she didn't know Allen Warner well, but knew his wife as a kind and caring woman. "You don't expect this and you know, the wife is absolutely, just wonderful … my first inclination is to go to the door and want to give her a hug and let her know the neighborhood is there for her," said Thomas.
The task force has not identified all of the victims, so anyone with information should call them at 440-886-5284.