Parents Blast Police on Chevy Chase Man’s ‘Constant’ Access to Children for Months After Hidden Camera Found
Jonathan Oldale was arrested last week on visual surveillance charges
Outraged parents on Wednesday questioned police on why a Chevy Chase man who allegedly placed a camera in a gymnastics center bathroom could have “constant” access to children for months afterward.
Jonathan Oldale, 54, of Greystone Court, was arrested last week after he reportedly left a backpack with a recording camera in Silver Star Gymnastics Center and Fitness Club in Silver Spring, where his children were enrolled in classes, last spring.
Police said they found two videos of children urinating in bathrooms on his computer, but investigators believe both were downloaded from the internet. Detectives have not found any videos they believe he recorded.
At a community meeting on Wednesday night at the National 4H Center in Chevy Chase to discuss the arrest, many parents were concerned why the public wasn’t notified of the investigation until almost six months after a search warrant was conducted.
“I can’t understand how something happened in May, and no parent was informed about that until a Friday evening in October,” one parent asked.
Capt. Paul Liquorie, recently appointed as commander of Montgomery County police’s Second District, said the investigation required police to sift through a massive amount of data on Oldale’s computer and couldn’t be done quickly.
“These are time-consuming, very technical investigations,” said Liquorie, one of three police panelists addressing the crowd of several dozen parents.
He stressed that police can’t publicize an investigation until charges had been filed, but said he believed the police warrant “gave some assurance” that Oldale would not attempt to surreptitiously record anyone while he knew he was being investigated.
Several parents spoke of Oldale’s “constant” access to children both before and after the camera was found in May. They said he was heavily involved in the community and often appeared at a Somerset pool or hosted swim-related events at his house.
Police said they could not reveal anything before charges were filed, but would focus on the pool and his house in the continuing investigation.
“This is like a bullhorn to us,” Sgt. Ken Sanger said of the parents’ comments. “It tells us what to focus on.”
Police began investigating Oldale on May 5, after a Silver Star employee called about a camera he found in a key fob in a unisex bathroom at the gymnastics center. The key fob was in a backpack under a "Wet Floor" sign.
The employee had removed the camera to see if anyone would take the bag back. Oldale took the bag from the bathroom, and approached the front desk several times to ask if anyone returned a key fob, police said.
The employee told police he had found a backpack containing cords and wires on the floor of the club's bathroom about three weeks earlier, police said.
On May 9, police searched Oldale's home and vehicle and found an instruction manual for a key fob camera. On his computer, police said, they found two videos, apparently downloaded from the internet, of seemingly school-age girls urinating in a bathroom.
Oldale is out on bail, but Silver Star has barred him from the gymnastics center since May and Montgomery County Public Schools will not permit him on school property.
Lt. Sheila Sugrue of the Montgomery County police Special Victims Investigations Division said there is no evidence that Oldale touched anyone or photographed any children, but she encouraged parents to contact police if they believe their child was victimized by him.
"We prefer to start a dialogue," she said. "We would like to know as specific as possible what your interaction with Mr. Oldale was."