Student accused of planting camera in CL Central locker room released from jail

Luke Gildea
Luke Gildea
Text of the email sent to Crystal Lake Central parents

CRYSTAL LAKE – A Crystal Lake Central High School student accused of planting a pin-hole video camera in a boys locker room posted $1,500 bail and was released from the McHenry County Jail this morning.

Luke Patrick Gildea, 17, of Crystal Lake, has been charged with one count of unauthorized video recording, a Class 4 felony, and one count of unauthorized video recording with a victim under 18 years of age, a Class 3 felony.

Shortly after 8 a.m., Gildea made an appearance in rights court in front of Judge Michael Feetterer. His application for a public defender was denied after he said he planned to hire his own attorney.

Citing Gildea's lack of a criminal history, the judge set bond at $15,000 and Gildea posted the required 10 percent.

The camera was found about 7 a.m. Thursday by a student at the school for an early workout, District 155 spokesman Jeff Puma said. Puma said it “appears to be an isolated incident.”

Crystal Lake police used a forensic examiner to review the recorder’s digital images, the department said in a news release. All images retrieved from the camera by authorities were recorded Thursday morning, Patrol Cmdr. Dan Dziewior said.

“It was footage from this date,” Dziewior said. “Not before that.”

An investigation is continuing, however, into how long the device was planted and whether images were previously captured and pulled from it.

Police determined the camera cannot wirelessly stream video.

“It certainly is possible that images could be transferred from it,” Dziewior said. “We have no indication that images have been transferred, but that is one of the things we want to assure.”

A pin-hole camera is a small camera that can be hidden within an ordinary object as a disguise.

“[Such a camera] could be in a fire alarm, light switch, it could be in a pen that sits in your desk,” Dziewior said. He declined to say where Gildea had placed the camera.

Gildea, a junior, was listed on Crystal Lake Central’s football roster this year.

Crystal Lake police and the school’s resource officer searched all locker rooms and bathrooms at the school and found no other devices. A similar search at other District 155 schools didn’t turn up anything unusual, Puma said.

As details were surfacing Thursday night, parents provided varied reactions.

Candie Archambeau, who has a daughter at Crystal Lake Central, said she was somewhat shocked at the news, and disappointed that a kid would do something so stupid without – she assumed – considering the repercussions.

But Archambeau was glad police had arrested someone.

“I’m kind of relieved it was a student in a way,” she said. “I would hate to think that it was a teacher or a custodian, somebody that is watching over our kids and teaching our kids.”

Paul Schlimm, who has a junior son at the school, said he thought administrators had and would continue to handle the situation appropriately.

“I really like the way the administration took care of this, telling us what they were going to do,” Schlimm said.

District 155 Superintendent Johnnie Thomas and Crystal Lake Central Principal Steve Olson informed parents of the incident through an email Thursday afternoon. The letter said a student found an apparatus that “appears to be a video recording device.”

A second email informed parents that a suspect had been taken into custody.

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