Police, parents outraged over camera found inside girls changing room at Tennessee cheer studio

Around the South

FRANKLIN, Tenn. (WKRN) — Disturbing and disgusting is how police describe a case where a hidden camera was found inside a changing and bathroom area at a gymnastics training facility in Tennessee.

Lt. Charles Warner said this investigation is going to take some time, as they are going through video footage trying to identify victims from Premier Athletics.

Some have already been notified.

“There have been some notifications gone out. We expect more to go out,” Warner said.

Multiple victims were recorded on a GoPro camera, he explained. Management of the business discovered the hidden camera last Thursday. They said it was inside the girl’s bathroom and changing room that’s isolated to the cheer and gymnastics training facility.

“It was in a bathroom in a changing room, so obviously it’s a very private place. I mean there are girls, there are young girls in there changing clothes.”

Franklin police said the camera has been linked to an employee of the facility and charges are forthcoming. They are continuing to investigate in the field and at headquarters.

“There are a lot of worried parents out there, and understandably so. As a police officer, this case is disturbing. As a dad, it’s disgusting. Obviously, there is a heinous crime that’s been committed. It’s impacted people’s lives and their privacy, and there’s potentially embarrassing material out there. We’ve worked hard to secure that so it’s not out there and now we have to go through the tedious process of the girls that have been victimized so we make sure they are given the justice that they deserve,” said Warner.

Parents like John Woelk are outraged.

“I was just dumbfounded when I found out,” he said. 

He said he received an email Monday night from Premier Athletics stating an employee no longer works for them and that a camera was found in the restroom.

“(I) wanted to get my rubber hose out and take care of business, to be honest with you,” he said.

Franklin police said it’s hard to tell right now how long the camera may have been there.

“Even if it’s not my kid, it’s still a little kid. No child should have to go through that period,” Woelk said.

The email from Premier Athletics explained that they do regular sweeps of the restroom.

“It’s just very unfortunate that it happened. It’s heartbreaking for the little girls,” Woelk said.

Franklin police said they will be notifying the parents of victims as they are identified. They have set up an email for anyone who may have questions or information on the case. You can email concern@franklintn.com.

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