Man accused of taking ‘creepshot’ videos of teen girl at Phoenix church
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — A man has been arrested after police say he admitted to recording several phone videos of a 16-year-old girl at a Phoenix church and her home for sexual gratification.
Last month, Phoenix police were contacted by the pastor of a church that investigators did not identify. The pastor told officers that the parents of a teenage girl, who are all church members, made the allegations against another church member. That suspect was later identified as Matthew Michael Messer, 27.
The pastor told officers that during lunch service at the church on Aug. 28, Messer stood in line behind the girl, holding his phone in a low position with the camera pointed upwards. When confronted, Messer reportedly claimed he was looking for something on the ground, but a witness saw that the phone was recording.
Weeks later, on Sept. 18, he said Messer was witnessed hitting record on his phone and placing it on a step of the family’s van in the church parking lot. The pastor was told it was positioned in a way to record underneath the skirt of anyone getting into the van.
The pastor told police that he spoke with Messer about the allegations on Sept. 20. He says Messer admitted that he was trying to get “creepshots” of the teen and a woman, which are typically defined as photos or videos taken without a person’s consent, usually focusing on breasts, buttocks or other sensitive areas. He reportedly told the pastor that he had “predatory tendencies” in the past.
That led to the pastor calling an executive meeting at the church later in the day, including Messer, church elders and the teen’s parents. A church member says the congregation collected documents against Messer and turned them over police.
Officers later spoke with the teen’s family, and the girl’s mother told investigators that her husband regularly records the meetings at the church. Per the recording, the suspect said he wanted to be at the meeting to “defend his good name” but that the allegations were true. Messer reportedly said he learned to take creepshots by watching porn and that he had recorded videos of the teen at the church and her home.
The teen’s mother told police that Messer was known to the family and that he had been to their home several times, including instances where the kids were home, but the parents were not. She says her children told her the suspect sometimes comes into their bedrooms to talk to them.
Family members confirmed what was reported by the pastor and added more information. In the incident involving the lunch line, a friend of the teen managed to get the suspect’s phone to see if he had been recording the girl. That person found a video with the camera focused on a woman or girl’s buttocks. Later in the church parking lot, documents say one of the teen’s sisters found the phone on the van’s step and realized it was recording.
On Thursday, police arrested Messer at his Phoenix apartment. According to court documents, during his interview with investigators, Messer allegedly admitted to taking the videos for his own sexual gratification. After recording the videos, he would reportedly send them to a secondary email and then delete them from his phone.
Messer was later booked into the Maricopa County jail and could face four felony counts of unlawful recording.
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