Investigators: Man hid camera to photograph 11 year old girl in her shower

April 13th, 2010 by

LARGO, FL–As an eleven year old girl stepped into her shower, the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says 35 Paul Austin, of Chicago, had a devious plan.

Investigators say Austin was visiting the victim’s family from Chicago in October until November 2009.
He knew the victim and had access to her home. It was during that visit, investigators say, he hid a camera in the girl’s bathroom.

“The photos were shot remotely he was not present in the bathroom when these photographs were taken,” says Cecilia Barreda with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

She says it wasn’t until a relative went looking through the camera for other pictures, that nude pictures of the girl were discovered.

The girl had no knowledge that any photos were ever being taken and she was in a place she believed to be private. Investigators say that makes Austin a video voyeur, a felony in Florida since 2004.

“It does make you feel dirty, it makes you feel like you’ve been violated, like you can’t trust anyone,” says Linda Osmundson, a victim advocate and executive director of CASA in St. Petersburg. She says technology makes these crimes more common and sadly easier….
She says this should serve as a lesson to parents.

“We have to be much more alert about people that are coming into our homes as well as abusers that live in our homes if they have the proclivity to be abusive in this way,” she says.

Austin was arrested in Chicago over the weekend and extradited back to Pinellas County on Sunday. U.S. Marshalls were able to make the arrest in large part thanks to the relative who discovered the images. Investigators say that person wisely kept the memory stick and handed it over to police.

Austin pleaded not guilty in a Pinellas County courtroom on Monday. If convicted, he could face up to five years in jail.

Copyright 2010 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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