Investigators release names of Huntsville businesses involved in hidden restroom camera investigation

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – State and federal agents say a Huntsville man arrested on child pornography charges Tuesday admitted to hiding cameras in restrooms at three Huntsville businesses.

Agents from the State Bureau of Investigations arrested 42-year-old Jeremy Joseph Nelson at his home Tuesday afternoon.  Agents said a two-month investigation linked Nelson to producing and trading child pornography.

Documents filed in Madison County Court Thursday indicate Nelson “produced videos of children nude.”

jeremy nelson

Jeremy Joseph Nelson (Photo: Madison County Detention Center)

During questioning, agents say Nelson admitted to hiding cameras in restrooms at WHNT News 19,  Ann’s Studio of Dance, and the Bentley Cadillac dealership.

Nelson also occasionally cleaned the Huntsville Hospital Childcare Center. Agents said they are investigating the possibility of cameras having been hidden there. But at this time, there is no evidence suggesting there was a camera at the Huntsville Hospital Childcare Center, according to investigators.

Agents said Nelson told them there was still an active 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.

Though agents said there were no active cameras at Ann’s Studio of Dance or the Bentley Cadillac dealership when they arrested Nelson, investigators confirmed that both locations did have cameras hidden in restrooms and/or changing facilities at one time.

Agents said that cameras were hidden in both female and coed bathrooms in the businesses for an undetermined length of time.

Agents confiscated external hard drives, memory cards and thumb drives from Nelson’s home.  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.

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.

Agents say they have met with and informed management and employees of Ann’s Studio of Dance and the Bentley Cadillac dealership the details surrounding this case.

On Friday, management of Bentley Cadillac released a statement which reads in part:

“Bentley is cooperating fully with all law enforcement agencies and officials.  The State Bureau of Investigation inspected Bentley Cadillac bathrooms and no cameras were found. No images from Bentley Cadillac have been found to date. Bentley Cadillac is committed to the privacy of our employees, family members, customers and visitors.  Bentley Cadillac changed the physical locks immediately following the inspection and have terminated the janitorial service.  In addition, we are having a complete inspection of all Bentley restrooms for any illegal monitoring devices of any kind conducted today.”

You can read the full Bentley Automotive Group Statement.

Huntsville Hospital also released a statement on Friday regarding the investigation which said, “A man has been arrested for child pornography and for placing cameras in bathrooms. The man is a janitor for a local company which we do business with.  He cleaned our childcare center at night when no one was in the building.  A police investigation has confirmed that he did not leave a camera in our facilities nor did he come in contact with any children or staff member in doing his janitorial work. We notified the parents of the students in our childcare center yesterday (Thursday) when we learned of it. Our primary concern will always be the safety of our children.”

Investigators have held meetings at the National Children’s Advocacy Center in Huntsville with the parents of students at Ann’s Studio of Dance for the past three days to update them on the status of the case; as well as to address questions and concerns they may have.

Investigators did not immediately release the names of the businesses in order to have time to alert those affected. They now wish for the public to know which businesses are affected in order for any potential victim not already alerted to be aware of the charges against Nelson.

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. You can visit their website by clicking here.

The National Child Advocacy Center in Huntsville also has resources that you can take advantage of, including counseling. The phone number to reach them is 256-327-3853. The NCAC has put together a resource for parents sharing the incidents with a child. Click here to view it.

If you have any information you would like to provide to the law enforcement agencies investigating this crime, you can email abihsisurvey@nationalcac.org.

Nelson is currently charged with four counts of production of child pornography, but more charges – including federal charges – are on the way.  He is being held in the Madison County Detention Center on a $60,000 cash bond.

Nelson was an employee of Sanitary Systems, a 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.

Nelson is scheduled to appear in Madison County District Court on October 22 for a felony exam hearing.

11 comments

  • Lilly Pegourie

    The saddest part is the manager/owner of the business he worked for now will have to suffer the repercussions of this one man’s actions – such as the tv station cancelling their contract. It has cont an innocent person money. My heart goes out to him. I wonder how long though in the course of that 20 years this has happened. But I also ache for the victims. As for the man thank God the family is not in any way condoning or wiling to support this type of behavior and I hope the LAW wil also act accordingly. Sometimes they don’t take things as seriously.

    • B

      I agree about the janitorial company, they shouldn’t have to suffer over this one mans actions. They are no more responsible for this than WHNT. I was disappointed that their services were terminated so quickly. I hope the victims can be strong and not let this change their life’s for the worst…. Prayers!

  • Deborah King

    SO SAD FOR THE VICTIMS IN THIS CASE,,,,,,,MR. JAMES STARKEY I HOPE YOU DONT LOOSE ALL YOUR BUSINESS BECOUSE OF THIS ONE VERY BAD EMPLOYEE…..WISHING ALL INVOLVED BLESSINGS FROM ABOVE.

  • Ray

    I can just imagine the problems at Anns business. There are so many kids who take classes there. That is going to be a nightmare for the police alone if the guy did alot of filming there.. This is a sad commentary on what deviate people will do.

  • Chad

    I just saw this on the morning report. You elaborated on Ann’s and Bentley, but didn’t catch the report on your own involvement. Did you choose to omit, or did I just miss it?

    • Denise Vickers

      Chad-I’m confident that you just missed it. Anytime we have reported on this case, we have reported on the cameras concealed in our women’s restroom. We first reported on our involvement Wednesday night at 10pm and every time we reported on the story since then. Sincerely, Denise Vickers – VP of News WHNT News 19

  • Kim

    I feel so sad for the owner of the business who trusted this guy and as a result has lost business. I think it’s really sorry of whnt and the car dealership to cancel the contracts since it wasn’t the owners fault. I also feel sorry for the daughters this guy has and wonder how a father can produce these images. He doesn’t deserve bond

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