San Jose

San Jose Art Studio Owner Arrested for Attempting to Create Child Porn Using Footage From Bathroom: Police

A San Jose art studio owner has been arrested for attempting to manufacture child pornography using hidden camera footage captured inside the facility's bathroom, according to police. 

El Verde Nguyen, 34, of San Jose has been booked into the Santa Clara County Jail after investigators found that a child under the age of 10 was photographed inside the bathroom of the Enlightenment Studio, which is listed as Nguyen's place of business, according to police.

A South Bay art studio in San Jose has suddenly been shut down as Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducts an investigation. Enlightenment Studio is located on Toyon Avenue in San Jose and is billed as a place for children. Parents on Tuesday received a letter from the studio indicating that San Jose police were investigating the location. Police...

The San Jose Police Department was initially notified about Nguyen's suspected acts on Sunday, according to police. The following day, detectives with the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force examined the studio and found a "small recording device" in the studio's bathroom.

Police said an anonymous person turned in a digital card reportedly from the camera revealing at least one image of a child under 10 years old.

"Our biggest concern was to make sure we eliminate that particular threat to children," Sgt. Brian Spears said.

The FBI has been alerted to the case and will continued to examine the recording device, according to police.

Investigators said they are concerned about all the different activities conducted by Nguyen involving young children -- many posted on his Instagram account.

A message posted on the studio's website on Monday indicated that the police department was conducting an investigation "regarding activit(ies) that happened on the premises of the studio." The studio announced that it was cooperating with the investigation, according to the message.

The Enlightenment Studio, which is located at 438 Toyon Ave., is billed as a place where people can receive instruction and tutoring for academics, music, painting, drawing, graphic design and other art-related activities.

A neighboring store owner defended Nguyen and said his grandson has been tutored at the studio for years.

But one woman who inquired at the studio about music lessons was skeptical.

"I just got a weird feeling and I left right away," San Jose-resident Cruz Hernandez-Samaro said. "I just didn't feel really right."

Anyone with additional information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Detective Christian Mendoza at 408-537-1397.

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