PINELLAS COUNTY: 35-Year-Old Man Arrested for Video Voyeurism After Photographing 11-Year-Old Girl in Shower
Paul C. Austin, 35, of Chicago, was extradited on Sunday and delivered to the Pinellas County Jail (from Illinois) to face a Felony charge accusing him of hiding a camera in a bathroom to take pictures of a young girl while she showered.
Austin's arrest warrant was for a Felony charge of Video Voyeurism, a Third Degree Felony pursuant to Florida Statute §810.145. If convicted of a Third Degree Felony in the State of Florida, Austin could receive a prison sentence of up to five (5) years.
According to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office, the underage girl was eleven (11) years-old when Austin hid a digital camera in boxes inside a garbage can and set it to automatically take nude photos of the young girl as she showered.
Authorities with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office have reported that a family member of the young girl found the photographs by accident while she was looking for other photos in Austin's camera. After making this shocking discovery, the relative confronted Austin in November before he fled to Chicago, where he lives.
The family member then approached the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office on November 25th and gave their Crimes Against Children detectives a memory card from Austin's camera. Later, during a monitored phone call (or a "controlled phone call," as we call it in the business), Austin admitted to taking the photos, according to the warrant for Austin's arrest.
Detectives assigned to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office's Crimes Against Children Unit obtained the Arrest Warrant, which was served in Chicago on April 3rd with assistance from the U.S. Marshals Great Lakes Regional Fugitive Task Force.
The young girl has not been named because of her age and the nature of the offense. In my experience handling Child Sex Cases, it is standard protocal for the identity of the child victim to remain confidential.
According to the St. Pete Times story, Austin was interviewed by the Cook County Sheriff's Office in Illinois and gave consent (our fancy, lawyer word for "permission") to have his computer and camera searched. During the search, nude photos of the young girl were found, in addition to nude photos of other "apparent minors," according to the warrant for Austin's arrest.
(Author's Note: I think its fair to say that we will be reading about Austin's "additional" charges in the not-so-distant future).
As this article is being written, Austin is being held in the Pinellas County Jail in lieu of $50,000 Bail