HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - A Huntsville man has been arrested on charges of child pornography. But, that doesn’t begin to convey the depth and elaborate nature of this story.
Agents from the State Bureau of Investigations arrested 42-year-old Jeremy Nelson at his home on Tuesday afternoon.
Agents from the State Bureau of Investigations and Department of Homeland Security are working together on the case. They say a two-month investigation linked Nelson to producing and trading child pornography.
They say when they paid Nelson a visit on Tuesday to question him at his house, they learned the disturbing details of how he captured many of the images.
During questioning, agents say Nelson admitted to hiding cameras in restrooms at three Huntsville businesses. One of those businesses was WHNT News 19.
They say Nelson told them there was still one camera in the women’s restroom at WHNT News 19 and described in detail where investigators could find it. Agents found the camera exactly where they say he told them and removed it for evidence. They also searched all other restrooms and dressing areas at the television station as a precaution. They didn’t find any other recording devices.
Agents say they confiscated external hard drives, memory cards and thumb drives from Nelson’s home on Tuesday. Forensic analysts will be reviewing all of the data to determine just how many people may be victims and whether their images were disseminated. That could take weeks to determine.
As of Tuesday evening, Nelson is charged with four counts of production of child pornography. He is being held in the Madison County Detention Center on a $60,000 cash bond. Agents will be working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to also bring federal charges against him.
Nelson was an employee of Sanitary Systems, janitorial service based in New Market. He’s worked for the company for roughly 20 years. WHNT News 19 has terminated the cleaning company’s contract with the station.
The company's owner, James Starkey, says he feels blindsided by the charges, and says he never had reason to suspect Nelson of these actions.
WHNT News 19 spoke with a family member of Nelson - who prefers not to be identified. They say "shock doesn't begin to cover how [they] feel," and that they did not know about Nelson's "secret addiction." They will not be posting Nelson's bond, and say they hope he gets the help he needs.
WHNT News 19 is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation into this matter.
Our team members have been made fully aware of the situation and we will continue to keep them informed about the progress of the investigation.
We are Taking Action for you tonight. If you feel you may be impacted by this news, we have a resource to provide you. The Department of Homeland Security has a Victim Assistance Specialist. The number to call is 504-310-8800.
This story has many elements. It’s continuing to develop. We want to tell as much of the story as we can. But, we also want to ensure we do not jeopardize this investigation. That's why we're not reporting the names of the other businesses yet. We promise to work closely with law enforcement to tell this story thoroughly and responsibly.