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Camera charge for ex-AOL exec

An original employee of and software developer for America Online has been arrested by Fairfax County police for allegedly placing a hidden camera in a changing room next to the pool at his home in Centreville and secretly filming teenagers.

Craig D. Dykstra, 51, apparently was hosting a pool party after the Westfield High School prom early Saturday, Fairfax police said.

A teenaged boy discovered a digital video camera hanging on a pair of shorts, removed it and gave it to his parents, who turned the camera over to police, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Monday in Fairfax Circuit Court.

Police watched the videos recorded on the night of the party and first saw "a white male in his 50s positioning the camera in the dressing room and re-adjusting the camera after it was put in place," the affidavit by Detective Nickolas Boffi states.

The video then captured eight teenaged boys and girls in bathing suits and towels and at least one girl totally naked. Police identified the girl and she said she did not consent to be filmed, Boffi wrote.

The affidavit noted that other pool parties were held at Dykstra's house and a secret camera may have been used.

Police searched Dykstra's house on Trillium House Lane on Monday and seized 12 computers, 20 data storage units, two video storage units, seven cameras and five cell phones, court records show. Dykstra was charged Tuesday with a misdemeanor of unlawful filming, Fairfax police spokeswoman Lucy Caldwell said.

Dykstra's arrest was first reported by Fox 5 News.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  June 10, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Tom Jackman  
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12 computers, 20 hard drives, and seven cameras. this guy is a grade A creep

Posted by: steampunk | June 10, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: ahowl7mx | June 10, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Since when was Mr. Dykstra arrested?? Both Fox and news channel 8 have said he was only charged with this. All of you news organizations are quick to jump on a story with little information, and no clue about the people involved. It's very obvious that this crime was perpetrated by some idiotic teenager, and most of these actions against Mr. Dykstra are just precautions taken in a paranoid frenzy. When it's shown that Mr. Dykstra is innocent, I hope you issue an apology, Washington Post.

Posted by: AlexKMiller | June 10, 2010 6:25 PM | Report abuse

OK first of all, the woman who was filmed naked was an adult over 18. "Girl" was used to deliberately make it seem like the person was a minor when she wasn't. Also Mr. Jackman said, "At least one" was filmed naked. To clarify, it was one.

Also Mr.Steampunk, Craig Dykstra is a founding member of AOL and coincidently, extremely wealthy. He is also a husband and a father of two. It makes sense that he would have that much electronic equipment in his house. It also makes sense that a property of that size would have mounted surveillance cameras. It does not make sense that he would set up a portable camera in a pair of shorts.

By the way as an attendee of many of these parties, I have never seen anything like this happen or been given any reason to believe that it would. I know that parents are allowed and in fact encouraged to come. There is never any alcohol and the Dykstras, especially Craig, are very down to earth, generous, and hospitable. Craig is a very unlikely suspect, albeit the only one the police have right now.

I find it appalling that the Washington Post and Fox News have published this and Craig's personal information and address given that the investigation is still ongoing. What is even more inexcusable is that the article deliberately misrepresents what happened in an attempt to demonize Mr. Dykstra. You owe him and his family an apology when he is found to be innocent.

Posted by: SHatch | June 11, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Can someone tell me why this person is hosting pool parties for teenagers? Friends of his kids or what?

Posted by: jtinyaface | June 13, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

jtinyaface, yes. I know that (at least) one of his kids is a teenage girl.
My kid goes to Bull Run Elementary. Mr. Dykstra always helps with the special effects for their musicals; without him they'd have no special effects. I find this hard to believe.
I agree completely with SHatch.

Posted by: steach95 | June 13, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

@SHatch - While it may be true that no minors were filed in the nude, the fact that he was allegedly filming people, without their consent is the only issue in this case. It doesn't matter how "down to earth, hospitable, and generous" he may or may not be. This is not a popularity contest.

The camera recorded the face of the person who set it. If that person is Mr. Dykstra, he will need a good lawyer because that's pretty damning evidence.

He may have had a very good reason for setting the camera, perhaps people were vandilizing something in the changing room and he wanted to see who was doing it. In that case, if those previous incidents were reported to the police, and/or he has the receipts to prove that repairs were made, he may be able to get the charges dismissed.

If it wasn't anything along those lines, and he doesn't have evidence to back up his claims, well, it'll be much more difficult to prove that he wasn't just spying on people hoping to see them naked.

As for posting his address, based on the above, they only posted the name of the street. Big deal. The street name or block number + street name is always included in these types of stories. Where's your outrage for every time you see a story about a crime in D.C. at the whatever block of suchandsuch road? Oh, wait. You don't have any because you don't know those people.

In any case, his is not the only residence along Trillium House, so it's not like giving the street name gave everyone an exact set of directions to his front door.

If this was an isolated incident, he'll probably get a suspended sentence, have to pay a fine, go on probation, and that'll be the end of it. Nobody will care inside of two weeks. If they find more video on the seized equipment, he may face a much stiffer penalty.

Time will tell and the courts will decide.

Posted by: TDEL | June 14, 2010 9:36 AM | Report abuse

This is very concerning. Kind of makes your stomach turn if he is watching these kids this way. I hope he is not watching his own children like this. His wife cannot be pleased. Move over MTV Cribs. Now called MTV Perv.

Posted by: Mustknow | June 14, 2010 4:38 PM | Report abuse

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