A professional photographer in Germantown, Tennessee has been discovered to be secretly filming teenage girls who are changing clothes in a dressing room for their professional photo shoots in his home. He is now facing criminal charges.
This came to light after two teenage sisters accused the photographer of using his iPhone to covertly record them while undressing in the changing room before they go on a photo shoot.
Montgomery County Police said that a Germantown mother hired photographer Mark Weikert to take glamour shots of her two daughters aged 13 and 14 years old.
Weikert then instructed the girls to change their outfits in a basement dressing room, located in his home which also doubles as his photo studio. As the girls undressed, one of them notices a small box atop a dresser with a peephole. When they checked, the girls saw an iPhone5 that was actively recording video. The sisters played back the video and allegedly saw Weikert setting up the contraption, before they went inside the room and before they took off their clothes. The girls deleted the clip and decided to place the phone back in the box.
The girls shared their unsettling discovery to their mother when they got home The mother immediately reported the incident to the police. The mother said: “It’s so disgusting. He has a kid of his own, so it really shocked me that he would do something like that.”
To Weikert’s surprise, the Montgomery County Child Exploitation Unit came to his home the following day after the girls’ photo shoot. With a court-signed search warrant in hand, the authorities confiscated multiple computers, external hard drives and mobile devices from his two-story single family home, located along the 20500 block of Watkins Meadow Drive.
When the Montgomery County Child Exploitation Unit reviewed the seized devices, they discovered shocking materials. On one external hard drive, police found multiple videos of an underage girl without clothes in Weikert’s dressing room. The date stamps showed the videos were recorded in 2012 and 2014. Upon further review, the girl turned out to be one of the sisters who discovered the alleged hidden camera. The girls had been photographed by Weikert on a number of occasions.
The investigators also uncovered more than a dozen explicit videos of child pornography from Weikert’s external hard drive. The police believe that it is possible that Weikert did not create those files, but downloaded them from the internet. Still, it can offer a glimpse to his interests, if not twisted mind.
The mother said she met Weikert through a mutual friend, and he seemed nice and genuinely helpful in offering more affordable photography services. She is afraid that her girls were not his only victims since he has photographed so many girls.
Weikert’s photography named “Dark Photography Designs” offers “engagement, portrait, family, fashion,newborn,maternity, seniors, prom and music artist” as expertise areas, according to Weikert’s website.
Weikert is now facing 21 criminal counts including sex abuse of a minor, prurient intent and possession of child pornography. He is scheduled for a three-day trial set to start on Halloween day. He faces more than 100 years in prison.