Gymnastics Instructor Allegedly Took Photos of Adults and Children in Rockville Cheerleading Studio Bathroom
Police found 49 photographs from hidden camera
Via Montgomery County police
Updated 12:10 p.m.: A gymnastics and cheerleading instructor allegedly placed a hidden camera in the bathroom of a Rockville cheerleading studio, taking photographs of adults and children, Montgomery County police said Thursday.
Police found 49 photographs from the Shockwave Allstars studio bathroom on the electronic devices of Cristian Gill, a 21-year-old living on Blandford Street in Rockville.
Gill was arrested Wednesday and charged with three counts of sex abuse of a minor, 35 counts of conducting visual surveillance in a private place with prurient intent and 20 “Peeping Tom” counts, according to court records.
The owner of the studio learned about the camera in February and informed police.
Police said Thursday that several victims in the photographs have been identified, and investigators have notified everyone in the photographs who they believe can be identified.
“At this time, investigators do not have any information or any evidence that Gill shared or distributed the images,” Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti, a police spokeswoman, said.
This is the second recent case in Montgomery County involving a man who secretly recorded people in a public bathroom. In October, police arrested Jonathan Oldale of Chevy Chase after finding a camera he reportedly left in a bathroom of Silver Star Gymnastics and Fitness Club in Silver Spring. On April 13, FBI agents arrested Oldale on federal child pornography charges in connection with the discovery of hundreds of videos that had been filmed in his home.
On Feb. 12, the owner of Shockwave Allstars called police after Gill allegedly told the owner he had placed a camera in a bathroom there but had never recorded anything.
Shockwave Allstars, at 20 Southlawn Court, offers cheerleading and gymnastic classes to boys and girls, with most customers under 18 years old. According to court documents, Gill worked there for about two years, during which he led one-on-one sessions for students and group lessons.
An employee had called the owner on Feb. 9 to report finding a “USB or similar device” near the sink in a unisex bathroom in the studio, according to police. The owner was out of town and asked the employee to leave it by the computer so he could try to find the device’s owner when he returned.
Gill asked to meet with the owner in the parking lot earlier in the day on Feb. 12. The owner told police Gill handed him the device, saying it was a camera that he hadn’t used to record anything and showing the owner where he’d placed it in the bathroom. The owner asked Gill to leave and called police.
Police took the camera and searched Gill’s residence, which was in Silver Spring at the time. They found several electronic devices and located on a tablet the 49 photos from the bathroom, according to police.
The images showed male and female adults and juveniles. Some were only partially visible and could not be identified. There are also allegedly images of Gill setting up the camera in the bathroom.
According to court documents, forensic analysis revealed the images were cached files taken from videos that were later deleted, leading police to believe there had previously been more images and videos from the bathroom on the tablet.
Police wrote in court documents that Gill’s browsing history on his cell phone included more than a dozen searches about “what happens if you record a public bathroom with a spy cam” and similar topics.
A review of CCTV camera footage from Shockwave Allstars shows Gill walking into the bathroom on Feb. 9, Innocenti said. Shortly after, the other employee goes in to the bathroom and finds the camera. Gill can later be seen in the area where the employee had put the camera on the keyboard.
After that, the device was “not located where the employee set it,” Innocenti said. Gill then left and did not return until Feb. 12.
In a conversation with police before he was arrested, Gill allegedly said he had placed the camera in the bathroom about 20 times during a two-month period ending in February, according to court documents.
Gill is scheduled for bail review in the Montgomery County District Court in Rockville on Thursday.
The three sexual abuse charges carry a maximum sentence of 25 years each, while every count of prurient surveillance has a maximum sentence of one year and the “Peeping Tom” charges are punishable by up to 30 days in jail for each count.
Police have asked anyone with information about the investigation to call 240-773-5400 or leave an anonymous tip at 866-411-TIPS (8477).