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Gloucester Catholic Custodian Charged with Secretly Filming Students

John Martin, 41, of Wenonah, allegedly captured students undressing with eight hidden cameras set up around the Catholic school.

Gloucester Catholic Junior-Senior High School’s head custodian allegedly installed hidden video cameras throughout the school, capturing images of students and staff undressing as well as everyday school activities.

John Martin, 41, of the first block of S. Jefferson Avenue in Wenonah, turned himself in Wednesday to Gloucester City police on a third-degree invasion of privacy charge.

Martin allegedly set up eight hidden cameras around the Gloucester City Catholic school, placing them in classrooms, the school’s choir room, weight room, backstage area, maintenance facilities and football area. The cameras, hidden in smoke detectors and ventilation ducts, were pinhole-sized, measuring a quarter-inch in diameter, officials said.

“Students used some of those rooms as changing areas and some of the images show nudity,” according to a release from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office. “Martin linked the cameras, which were installed without the school’s knowledge, to the existing video security system at Gloucester Catholic.”

Martin was in charge of Gloucester Catholic's video surveillance system.

Most of the people seen on camera are females, both students and teachers. Investigators are working to identify the people filmed; police will contact anyone identified on the footage.

Martin reportedly amassed hours of footage and took a large collection of screen shots from the videos. The pictures were stored on his cell phone, police said.

Authorities said Martin shared the pictures with at least two people, but there is no indication he distributed the videos to a wider audience through sale or by posting them online.

The investigation into Martin—a Gloucester Catholic school employee for years—initiated because a witness reported seeing the images. Authorities confronted Martin on Nov. 21, when he promptly resigned.

Gloucester Catholic principal John Colman wrote a letter to parents Tuesday informing them of the situation.

“We at the school will notify the parents of any students whose photograph is identified so that they can be alerted to the situation and so that the students can be provided whatever counseling or other assistance might be necessary,” Colman said.

Gloucester Catholic enrolls about 640 students in high school and 69 students in the junior high program, according to the school. The co-ed school opened in 1928.

The investigation into Martin is ongoing and more charges are possible. Martin was released Wednesday on his own recognizance on the condition he not go near the school or any students or staff.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story reported that Martin was Gloucester Catholic's information technology department head, based on information from the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. He was not.

theresa barnett November 30, 2012 at 05:38 PM
O.K. What's Next? are you saying if this man stuck to his job discription he wouldn't have been found out? People are getting to comfortable aren't they?

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