On April 4, 2017 a staff member at CES located a suspicious electronic device in a staff restroom at the school. After contacting law enforcement authorities, the device was determined to be a miniature video camera. Unfortunately, the camera had been concealed in a manner in which to record persons using the toilet facilities.
School Board and law enforcement personnel from the Chiefland Police Department and the Levy County Sheriff’s Office immediately began a criminal investigation. Investigators realized that a similar incident had been reported during the 2016 school year. They quickly identified Robert Perez as a suspect. The officers were able to develop probable cause to arrest Perez for two counts of Video Voyeurism. These are felony charges and Perez remains in the Levy County Jail on a $700,000.00 bond.
Subsequently, investigators executed a search warrant at Perez’s residence. A number of items containing potential evidence were recovered during the search. Those items will take a significant amount of time to review. Additionally, law enforcement officers have thoroughly searched all the restrooms at CES and did not discover any additional cameras. Investigators determined Perez targeted staff bathrooms to set up his video equipment. No credible evidence has been uncovered that any children were targeted for videoing by Perez at this point in the investigation.
At this time we believe that Robert Perez was solely responsible for both camera incidents. Perez has been placed on leave without pay and due process procedures are being followed for termination. Perez has no prior disciplinary issues since he began his employment with the Levy County School Board in 9-9-2010.
We do not know the identities or the number of potential victims who may have been recorded during these criminal acts. Superintendent Edison has spoken personally to State Attorney Bill Cervone about these cases. State Attorney Cervone assured the Superintendent that his office will take every step possible to protect the identities of all of the victims and prevent release of the videos after the completion of the prosecution.
The School Board has and will continue to cooperate fully with law enforcement and the State Attorney. Because this is an ongoing criminal investigation, much of the information is not available to us. However, we have been assured by investigators that they will provide as much information to us as possible throughout the investigation.
Any further inquiries should be made to Candy Dean, Assistant Superintendent, at the School Board of Levy County at 486-5231.