Apartment Roommate Installs Hidden Camera In Bathroom To Make 47 Child Porn Videos

Apartment Roommate Installs Hidden Camera In Bathroom To Make 47 Child Porn Videos

So that he could surreptitiously make indecent recordings of his female roommate and her 12-year-old daughter while they used the toilet and showered in a shared, three bedroom Los Alamitos apartment, Daniel Robert Zahn installed a tiny hidden camera in their bathroom.

For at least three months beginning in Dec. 2012, Zahn watched his roommates in a live feed as well as created 47 movies and 842 still images on his computer without detection.

On the afternoon of Feb. 12, 2013, however, Zahn's alarmed roommate discovered the camera hole in the bathroom's baseboard, contacted the property managers and watched as they traced wires to Zahn's bedroom.

When Los Alamitos police officers arrived, Zahn first tried to claim the camera didn't work, but eventually acknowledged his scheme.

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"It's one of those stupid things," the 40-year-old Churchville, New York native then with a clean criminal record explained to the cops before he was arrested.

Initial state charges were dropped so that Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Michael Brown could pursue a federal, child pornography possession case in June 2014.

After a pre-trial guilty plea, Zahn's defense lawyer strenuously argued that her client hadn't made child porn, writing, "While an illegal invasion of privacy, this conduct does not rise to the level of bringing child pornography production into operation."

Believing the footage was created for sexual gratification, the veteran prosecutor disagreed.

"It is from the defendant's placement of the hidden camera--in the bathroom Jane Doe shared with her mother, in the baseboard near the toilet seat--that he intended to capture naked images of Jane Doe, including images of her genitalia," Brown wrote in his sentencing brief. "While not every frame of the videos recorded by the defendant included sexually explicit images of Jane Doe, the girl appears in some of the videos fully naked, with her breasts and genitals exposed to the camera."

The defense pushed for a 60-month prison sentence and limited sex offender registration, noting that Zahn had a crappy childhood, earned a steady living as a skilled laborer, confessed relatively quickly and apparently didn't distribute any of the images.

But Brown believed the correct punishment should be 108 months plus lifetime sex offender registration because of the defendant's "exploitative" and "predatory" conduct involving a minor.

This week inside Orange County's Ronald Reagan Federal Courthouse, U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford sent Zahn to prison for 80 months, imposed lifetime registration and computer use restrictions, and banned him from loitering within 100 feet of any place children gather.

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Email: rscottmoxley@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @RScottMoxley.


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