OCONEE COUNTY, Ga. – A custodian has been arrested for collecting video recordings of girls in the bathroom at a Georgia high school.
Oconee County Sheriff Scott Berry announced the arrest of Timothy Brian Burnette, 40, of Watson Springs Road in Union Point. At the present time he is facing one count of Unlawful Eavesdropping or Surveillance. However, the investigation could expand.
The Sheriff’s Office released the following details on their Facebook page:
On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 10, 2018, administrators at the Oconee County High School learned of a cell phone being used to record female students in bathroom. Administrators notified the Sheriff’s Office. OCSO investigators arrested (Timothy Brian) Burnette and notified the GBI Child Exploitation and Computer Crimes Unit who executed a search warrant on Burnette’s residence.
All inquiries concerning the GBI’s investigative efforts should be directed to the GBI.
The Sheriff’s Office also notified the FBI of the situation.
OCSO investigators will continue with their investigation, and more charges are possible. Burnette is being held in the Oconee County Jail pending his first appearance hearing.
The Sheriff’s Office is working with state and federal officials to assess and contain any possible transmission of any such videos. The safety of your children is our primary concern.
All inquiries regarding Burnette’s status with the school system should be directed to the Oconee County Schools.
In a follow-up post, Sheriff Berry said authorities are in possession of more than one electronic device. Berry also has a reputation of uniquely disseminating information via social media.
He provided the following update Friday:
Update on the case involving the cellphone camera set up at OCHS.
Search warrants have been obtained for the devices and the process of extracting information has begun. On the TV shows NCIS and CSI, they do all that during a commercial break. In real life the process is that each device is cloned completely, then the clone is searched for evidence. It takes time. It takes time to clone a device and it takes time to search the clone for information relevant to our investigation. We intend to be thorough and complete. It will take time.
We are committed to a complete process. If you have not heard from us, then as of right now your child is not a victim. I can assure you that our investigators and investigators with other agencies have this as a priority “red ball” case…but it still takes time.
We will strike a balance between keeping the public informed and working with any potential victim and their families always favoring the victim and the impact it may have for them.
The Sheriff’s post did not indicate if the arrestee was an employee of the school, or how he accessed locations in order to conceal recording devices. However, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution referred to the man as a custodian.
Oconee County Schools fired him after the arrest, school district spokeswoman Anisa Sullivan Jimenez said. He had just been hired in August.
Jimenez said Oconee County High School principal Ben Wiggins sent a letter to parents Thursday morning about the arrest.
“Parents of students affected by this have been contacted,” Wiggins wrote in the letter. “Law enforcement is conducting an investigation into this incident and we will continue to cooperate accordingly.”