The FBI said Tuesday that an Edgewater man secretly recorded children in three YMCA facilities’ shower and locker room areas between 2006 and 2020, potentially victimizing more than 100 kids. The agency is now trying to identify the victims who were recorded at the High Ridge YMCA in West Ridge, Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles, and South Shore YMCA in Woodlawn.
Investigators apparently discovered the recordings in the man’s apartment while executing a search warrant during a separate child pornography investigation in December 2020.
Michael Porter, 55, faces multiple counts of related charges in federal court.
The FBI first began looking at Porter in 2020 after a Philadelphia man was charged with distributing child pornography online. Investigators linked Porter to the East Coast case through internet, phone, online payment, and other records, according to a federal complaint.
When agents searched Porter’s home, they “observed an office with an overabundance of unorganized personal items” that included an array of videotapes, discs, and cassettes, the complaint said.
Some of the recordings “contain what appeared to be surreptitiously recorded videos of a locker room, focusing on what appeared to be underage boys, some of which were nude,” an FBI agent wrote.
The agent said the camera appeared to be hidden inside a black bag on the floor of a locker room.
“In one of these videos, the individual physically resembling Porter is seen washing a prepubescent male child, lowering his shorts, and washing his” private areas, according to the 2020 complaint.
Agents also allegedly found receipts in Porter’s home from a “spy store” for a keychain DVR and miniature camera DVR.
Porter tried to get the federal charges thrown out, arguing that the locker room videos are not pornographic. U.S. District Judge Ronald Guzman denied the motion last July in an opinion that included detailed descriptions of the videos’ content.
According to Guzman’s summaries, many of the recordings included sexual activity, and Porter’s face is seen in some footage.
In one ruse, Porter told children who were showering with their swim trunks on that they had to remove their trunks “due to the chlorine in the pool,” Guzman wrote.
Anyone who has information about Porter’s alleged activities or possible victims can contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.