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Exam ordered for Warren man charged with child porn

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

A mental health evaluation was ordered for a Warren man facing child pornography charges after authorities allegedly found videos on a thumb drive showing boys changing in a public locker room.

Timothy Kenneth Decker, 58, was indicted by a grand jury in Detroit on four counts of producing child pornography – involving four underage victims – and one count of possession of child pornography that included images of minors less than 12 years old.

On Jan. 26, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman ordered a mental health evaluation for Decker at the Midland County Jail where he is detained and awaits his next court hearing.

Decker’s attorney, Jack L. Jaffe, told Borman he needed a mental health expert to assist him in representing Decker against the charges that carry up to 30 years in prison.

Federal authorities in Detroit launched an investigation into Decker, who owned a party rental company, after a 20-year-old man who worked for him told police in August he found footage that included “five videos of minor males changing into bathing suits in a public locker room,” according to a criminal complaint.

In a court filing, a Federal Bureau of Investigation task force member said at the beginning of each video, “an adult male that appears to be Decker turns the camera towards his face, and then turns the camera and proceeds to videotape the locker room” while walking around.

More footage was found that was time-stamped in 2011 that captured boys — including prepubescent ones — changing clothes, according to court records. The location of the public locker room wasn’t disclosed in the filing, but a federal representative told a judge it appeared to be at a community center in the Eastern District of Michigan.

According to authorities, the worker, who has known Decker for about eight years and was employed at the party rental company, had been preparing a flier when he found on the thumb drive videos of himself as a teen changing in a locker room and sleeping naked.

The alleged victim — identified as Victim One in the complaint — found “hundreds if not thousands of videos” on Decker’s home desktop computer in August, federal officials said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Margaret Smith said investigators also seized videos and tapes that reportedly “show (Decker) surreptitiously recording these children as they are playing on the equipment that the companies, the churches, the daycare centers are renting from his business.”

Jaffe did not return calls seeking comment on the case.

The case is set for trial on March 14.

jchambers@detroitnews.com