Officials: CMPD officer arrested for having photos of underage girls
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Police in Charlotte say a police officer has been arrested and charged with having inappropriate photos of underage girls.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, officer Thomas E. Allen was arrested by CMPD detectives and charged with four counts of secretly using a photographic imaging device to view another's body or undergarments and four counts of possessing photographic images in violation of the peeping statute.
According to a CMPD document, Allen was listed as the Internship Coordinator for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Training Academy.
According to police, the investigation began in October 2013 and found that Allen photographed and had four images of juvenile females as they participated at various activities during two CMPD High School Academy events in 2011 and 2013.
The investigation revealed that Allen took photos through the victims clothing during physical training that captured portions of their undergarments without their consent.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe says Allen took the photos with a 35 millimeter camera.
"We're talking about physical activities where people were wearing loose-fitting clothes," Chief Monroe told WBTV. "So the pictures were taken during those physical activities where by virtue of them wearing loose-fitting clothes he was able to zoom in."
Chief Monroe said the high school students were doing things like sit-ups and push-ups when photographed.
"He committed these offenses in the presence of other people," Monroe said. "So it was not based on him being alone with anyone. It was just based on his unlawful sneaky ways in trying to capture these photographs."
Monroe said the investigation started after some type of internal conversation with Allen - none of the girls came forward.
"No, and to our knowledge," Monroe said, "they had no knowledge of the activity that he was engaged in until we approached them."
Allen has been cited for termination. He was hired by the CMPD on March 27, 1996, and was last assigned to the Recruiting Division of the Police Training Academy.
Police officials say eleven full time detectives were assigned to the case during the investigation.
Investigators went through several thousand photographs on Allen's home and work computers.
The juvenile victims were fully clothed at the time they were photographed, investigators say. So far, there has been no evidence of any child pornography on the computers examined.
Charlotte police say they are working to interview the approximately 700 people who participated in youth programs that Allen was directly associated with during his career.
Detectives have attempted to contact more than 400 of those individuals and have formally interviewed nearly 180 to date to determine if any inappropriate contact occurred during his employment.
There have been no reported allegations of inappropriate contact at this time, police say.
The CMPD is urging anyone in the public who may have additional information concerning these or any other incidents to call a devoted phone line that was established specifically for this case.
They may speak to lead Detective Dunbar at 704.619.4931.
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