BLOOMINGTON, Ind.-- A high school custodian in Bloomington was suspended after a camera was discovered in a locker room.
36 year old William Marrs has been charged with voyeurism and child exploitation after he admitted to hiding his phone in the girls locker room at Bloomington High School North,
The school district says the custodian has been an employee with the district for 5 years. After his arrest, Marrs told police this was the first time he tried secretly recording young girls.
The incident happened around 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night, as BEST swim team, which is not affiliated with the high school, was getting ready for practice.
Police say three 13 year old girls went into the locker room to change and found something alarming
"They observed a trash bag in the corner of the locker room," described Dana Cole with the Bloomington Police Department. "One of the girls noticed the bottom corner had been torn away and she observed what appeared to be a cell phone lens through the hole.”
The girls quickly placed a towel over the bag, then later dug through it. They found a cell phone recording video. The girls gave the phone to their coach. About 5 minutes later, Marrs came into the swimming area asking parents if they found a lost phone. The parents directed Marrs to the coach, who then gave the phone back to Marrs.
"When the young ladies handed over the phone and told him (the coach) what happened in the locker room, he didn't feel comfortable looking at the phone, which is understandable," Cole said. "He (the coach) told us he didn't know his legal rights at that time if he could keep the phone.”
The coach and parents called police soon after Marrs retrieved his phone. By the time Marrs was arrested, he had erased all video from his phone. Luckily for police, he confessed.
"He eventually admitted he placed the cell phone in the trash bag for the purpose of recording the girls in the locker rooms," Cole said. "He claims it’s the first time he’s done this.”
However police aren’t convinced it’s the first time. Police say the girls recalled a day within the last month when Marrs made them wait to go in the locker room while he said he had to change the soap dispenser. While police don’t have evidence there are any more incidents, they’re still searching
"We do not believe anything inappropriate was captured, but the intent was definitely there last night," Cole said. "We are in the process of serving some search warrants on Mr. Marrs residence as we speak, so it is the hopes that if this is a repeated behavior that will will be able to recover some kind of evidence from his residence.”
Police say Marrs' camera roll and recently deleted folder had been cleared, so they are currently looking to see if Marrs had any iCloud accounts backing up the photos
Bloomington High School North Principal Michael Akers issued a statement saying a custodian, 36-year-old William Marrs, had a camera in the girls swimming locker room.
Marrs has been suspended pending the outcome of the investigation.
"Please know that we take the safety and security of our students and staff very seriously and will continue to be vigilant in our efforts," Akers said.
The Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) said they are cooperating with the investigation but did not know if any students or staff had been recorded.
School officials urged anyone with more information to reach out to a building administrator or school counselor.
BEST swim team spokesperson Tia Arthur issued this statement:
We are grateful for the quick response by the Bloomington Police and Monroe County Community Schools Corporation. We are thankful our swimmers, coach, and parents responded to the situation quickly and appropriately. We will have no further comment at this time.