Man accused of filming underage student faces porn charges

Man faces child porn charges
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 11:24 AM EDT
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BARBOURSVILLE, W.Va. (WSAZ) - A man in Barboursville is facing child pornography charges after investigators say he filmed an underage exchange student living in his home.

On Monday, Aug. 8 West Virginia State Police arrested Darrell Wells, 55, of Barboursville, on charges of child pornography and criminal invasion of privacy.

Police say the 17-year-old victim discovered a hidden camera in her bathroom at the home of her “host family” on April 14.

A search warrant led to an additional camera being found in the victim’s bedroom.

More than 600 images were found by troopers.

Several other storage devices were also seized, according to state police.

“There was a breach of that trust. Here they trusted in an organization which failed them. They trusted in a family which failed them. Then, their daughter’s dreams were stolen from her,” Paul Saluja, an attorney representing the case, said.

As technology continues to develop, Saluja emphasizes the importance of being aware of your surroundings.

For instance, doing your research on what disguised cameras can look like. In this case, troopers tell us the cameras found were disguised as a towel hook and phone charger-- two commonly used items.

A quick internet search will show you some examples of disguised cameras can look so real, that it would be potentially difficult for someone to notice the small camera lens at a quick glance.

Wells faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of all the charges, as well as up to a $75,000 fine.

He is being held on $125,000 cash bond.

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