Crime

York County man hid toilet camera, made, shared nude child porn videos, cops say

Meet Ruger, the ‘game-changer’ dog in fight against child predators

Meet Ruger, the newest member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ruger can detect the chemical smell of small electronics that humans cannot, which is a ‘game-changer’ in the fight to stop child exploitation and child pornography.
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Meet Ruger, the newest member of the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. Ruger can detect the chemical smell of small electronics that humans cannot, which is a ‘game-changer’ in the fight to stop child exploitation and child pornography.

A York County man was charged Monday with 12 child pornography crimes after he made bathroom recordings of nude children at his home for more than a decade and shared them, police said.

Mark Steven Ehrnschwender, 61, of Lake Wylie, turned himself in Monday after a month-long investigation by detectives with the York County Sheriff’s Office, said sheriff’s spokesperson Trent Faris. Police were alerted to the videos on Oct. 5.

Ehrnschwender is accused of sharing child porn videos that he made in the bathroom at his house from 2007 through 2013, police and prosecutors said.

Videos of nude or partially-clothed girls using the bathroom, taking showers and changing clothes were made as early as 2007, and continued through at least 2013, arrest warrants state.

Ehrnschwender installed a secret camera in a bathroom to make the videos, and shared the videos online in 2017 using a computer software program called Bit Torrent, police said in arrest warrants.

Some video clips lasted as long as 48 minutes; others were as short as a minute.

The nude children were recorded without their knowledge or consent, said Robert Kittle, spokesperson for the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. The recording of the videos, then sharing the videos online, are crimes, Kittle said.

Ehrnschwender is charged with eight counts of first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, according to police and jail records.

That charge carries a mandatory minimum of three years and up to 20 years in prison for each conviction.

A first-degree sexual exploitation of a minor charge alleges using or helping a minor in sexual activity, allowing the activity to take place, transportation of a visual image or producing visual images for financial gain, according to state law.

He also is charged with one count of second-degree sexual exploitation of a minor and two counts of third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, jail records show. Those charges carry up to 10 years in prison for each conviction.

He faces as much as 190 years in prison on the charges.

Ehrnschwender also faces one count of voyeurism. That charge comes from placing of the camera in the bathroom, warrants state.

The case was investigated by the South Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children task force, operated by the attorney general’s office. Detectives in York and Lancaster counties have made several arrests in 2018 under the program.

Ehrnschwender remains at the York County jail without bond, jail records show.

Andrew Dys: 803-329-4065, @AndrewDysHerald
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