Closings & Delays across the Tennessee Valley

Cleaning service owner apologizes to victims of employee charged with producing child porn

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — We have new information about a case hitting close to home for those of us here at WHNT News 19. A janitor who worked for a contracted cleaning service in our building faces child pornography charges. Investigators tell us 42-year-old Jeremy Nelson admitted to hiding cameras in three Huntsville businesses, including here at the WHNT News 19 station. I sat down with the owner of the company Nelson worked for. Jamey Starkey tells me he was as surprised as anyone about the news.

Starkey didn’t know anything until agents with the State Bureau of Investigations called him Tuesday saying they’d arrested one of his workers on child porn charges. His first reaction was, “What have you done Jeremy? What have you done to yourself? What have you done to your friends and family?”

That was before he knew anything about video cameras being involved. That’s when he said, “I was just twice as shocked. I said ‘well now it starts to really victimize people beyond just that little circle.’”

Nelson cleaned three businesses each night. In a different way, Starkey feels like he as well is a victim of his former employee because his customers are cancelling their cleaning contracts with him. He told us, “I`ve already lost my two big ones and the third one may be on the way.” Those are the ones that Jeremy Nelson cleaned.

Starkey’s just hoping he can repair the damage and keep his business afloat. “It`s going to make it pretty tough,” he told us, “But I don`t really know how to do anything else after doing it since I was basically 19 or 20 years old and here it is, 40-something years later. I’ll just have to try to regroup as much as I can and go on.”

The toughest fight this small businessman faces right now is trying to regain the trust of his customers. “I just want them to know that we`re sorry for everything that happened. I know it`s a terrible thing for anybody who experienced it and might have been victimized by it,” Starkey said. “I know what they`re going through and we feel for them for that and we`re very sorry for anything, any harm that was caused.”

And what would he say to his former employee? Shaking his head, he answered, “Why? I guess most criminals don`t think they`re going to get caught or they wouldn`t do it and in the back of his head, I guess he figured he wouldn`t get caught.” But state agents say they caught him. And a spokesman for Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed for us that this is now a federal case.

2 comments

  • Michael

    If Nelson wasn’t cleaning the business I don’t understand why they’d cancel the contract. Guilt by association? Definitely understand for those he did clean at though.

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