Church leader accused of placing camera in women's bathroom

AUMSVILLE, Ore. - A man who has been involved in a church in this small Oregon town since he was a kid was arrested Wednesday accused of placing a video camera in a stall of the women's bathroom.

Christopher Fowler, 32, was the youth leader and janitor at the Bethel Baptist Church. He's charged with 15 counts of encouraging child sex abuse in the first degree and invasion of privacy, according to the Aumsville Police Department.

According to Lt. Richard Schmitz, Fowler videotaped three different people using the women's restroom - one adult and two children under 12 years of age.

One woman discovered the camera after whatever Fowler used to hide it began to peel away, Schmitz said.

Fowler was involved in every aspect of the church's youth groups, including driving buses for outings and taking photographs for the church.

He was a paid staff member for five to six years, Schmitz said.

After obtaining a search warrant, police seized Fowler's seven computers as evidence. Those computers contained thousands of images and videos of child pornography, Schmitz said.

Police have not yet identified anyone on the images from the computer as children associated with the church.

Fowler was originally arrested in December after the video camera in the bathroom was discovered, but he was released as police investigated. A grand jury indicted him last week and he was rearrested Wednesday.

Schmitz said they could determine the video camera was Fowler's when they saw what was recorded on it. When confronted, Schmitz said Fowler confessed to putting it in the bathroom.

Fowler's parents attend the church. His father declined to speak with KATU News Wednesday night.

Fowler is lodged in the Marion County Jail without bail.