Gadi Schwartz, Kenny Holmes
For the first time, the owners of the dance competition promotion company Kids Artistic Revue are speaking out about a worker who allegedly tried to record young girls undressing during an event, and was later found in possession of more than 1,000 child pornography images. Gadi Schwartz reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 11 on Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
The owners of an Orange County dance studio where an employee allegedly set up a hidden camera in a dressing room to film young girls told NBC4 Wednesday that the man’s actions were "so evil."
Paul Barbour, 33, was an emcee for Kids Artistic Revue in Cypress. According to Cypress Police, Barbour hid a video camera inside a changing room at Cypress College to record girls between the ages of 12 and 15 who were performing at a dance competition Saturday. In the video taken at the event, Barbour could be seen adjusting the camera, prosecutors said. The next day, investigators raided Barbour’s home and found more than 1,000 images of child pornography on his home computer.
"It’s very sad how someone can hide something that’s just so evil," Kids Artistic Revue CEO Noah Lands said.
The company says they are immediately changing protocol, including stricter monitoring of who is allowed in dressing rooms and where cameras are permitted.
"We are not going to push it under the rug because this is something we all need to learn about," Lands said.
Police believe Barbour did not get any video of the dancers. A dance instructor told NBC4 that when the video was reviewed after the hidden camera was discovered, it showed that the camera was knocked over right after it was set up.
"There was luckily and thankfully no footage of any dancers dressing or undressing," dance instructor Donna Shepherd said.
"Had it not fallen maybe something would have gotten on tape. I think things happen for a reason so I'm glad that that happened," parent Kristi Alanes said.
Dancers are looking forward to moving on from this incident.
"We love (dancing) so why stop this because of this one person," dancer Kiana Mariano said. "And he got arrested."
Kids Artistic Revue plans to meet with other dance competition companies to discuss how to improve security in the future.
Representatives from the company say they did run background checks on Barbour, but no red flags appeared. Barbour was also run through the sex offender registry but there was no listing.
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.
If convicted, Barbour faces a maximum sentence of more than seven years behind bars.