MASCOUTAH — A 28-year old man is being held on $250,000 bail after his arrest Thursday on 24 felony child pornography counts resulting from an investigation that began with a complaint that he used his cell phone to illegally videotape young girls at the Mascoutah public swimming pool.
Nathaniel J. Winn of Mascoutah is charged with possessing photographs of girls under age 18 taken from the Internet that showed them engaging in sex.
According to St. Clair County Circuit Court documents, Winn also possessed photographs that showed underage girls "subject to masochistic or sado-masochistic abuse in a sexual context," and unclothed in a "lewd exhibition."
Winn was also charged with a single misdemeanor count alleging that he "engaged in an act of sexual conduct with the intent to arouse or satisfy his sexual desire in that he touched his sex organ while taking photographs with his cell phone of 13- and 14-year-old girls," at the pool.
Mascoutah Police Chief Bruce Fleshren said in a written statement, "This resulted from a police investigation of a complaint made on June 20 to the Mascoutah Police Department. The complaint alleged that a person later identified as Winn was acting inappropriately at the Mascoutah swimming pool. Several people believed that Winn was taking pictures or video of young girls without their knowledge with his phone. He was approached by pool staff and left the area."
It could not be determined whether Winn has an attorney. He is being held in the St. Clair County Jail.
"At this time it appears that the pictures and videos were obtained from Internet sources and not created by Winn," Fleshren said, "But with that said, if anyone knows of, or has allowed a young female to be with Winn unattended, they need to check with the child or contact Mascoutah Police to make sure no inappropriate contact or filming was done by Winn."
State's Attorney Brendan Kelley praised the department's investigation that was led by Detective Jared Lambert.
"I'm grateful to the officers and prosecutors that assisted in reviewing the evidence in this case, which was very difficult for even the most seasoned investigator to go through," Kelley said.
In 2011, Winn was fined $500 for possessing a "dangerous primate," believed to be a large monkey.
Prosecutors and police have contacted federal prosecutors at the U.S. Attorney's office in Fairview Heights to discuss whether federal child pornography charges should be brought.