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Prison time for circus troupe owner who secretly recorded underage performers

Man pleaded guilty to charges in Suffolk County Superior Court Wednesday.
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The circus troupe owner was sentenced to two years behind bars.

Michael Coghlan/Wikimedia Commons

The owner of a circus troupe who worked with underage performers was sentenced to two years behind bars Wednesday after pleading guilty to secretly recording them in hotel rooms, authorities said.

William H. Allen of Athens, Georgia used hisposition as a co-owner ofCirque de la Symphonie— a company that provides performers to take part in musical performances—to gain access to and secretly capture nude and partially nude images of two performers under the age of 16,Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

“The defendant exploited a position of trust to secretly record two children in a state of undress,” Conley said. “He violated their trust, he violated their privacy, and he violated the law.”

On June 11, 2015, one of the victims traveled to Boston to take part in a stage performance through Allen’s company. Allen met the victim at Logan International Airport and brought him to the Fairmont Copley Plaza, where Allen had already checked in to two hotel rooms — one for himself and one for the victim. Allen, the evidence would have shown, had set up a hidden camera in the victim’s bedroom prior to the victim’s arrival. Later, that night, the victim went to Allen’s hotel room to discuss the performance schedule and observed images of his own room displayed on Allen’s laptop.

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The victim contacted hotel security, who searched the room twice and discovered three wireless cameras hidden in smoke detectors throughout the bedroom and bathroom, prosecutors said.

Boston Police seized Allen’s electronic devices and discovered videos on his phone and laptop that depicted the victim in various states of undress. One video had been captured at a different hotel room on a prior date, prosecutors said.

Investigators also discovered a video on Allen’s laptop and images on his phone of a second victim at a different hotel. Boston Police were able to identify the victim as another underage performer who was similarly unaware that the video and photos had been taken.

Allen pleaded guilty to two counts each of secretly photographing sexual or intimate parts of a child and possession of child pornography in Suffolk Country Superior Court. In addition to jail time, he was also sentenced to 10 yearsprobationand is barred from working with and having unsupervised contact with anyone under 18.He was also ordered tohave no contact with his victims, undergo a psychiatric evaluation, and complete any treatment deemed necessary, including sex offender treatment.

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