Athletes Caught On Secret Tape Hidden-camera Video Of Penn Wrestlers In A Locker Room Turned Up For Sale On The Internet. The Fbi Has Been Notified.

Posted: April 05, 1999

Hidden-camera videotapes showing members of the University of Pennsylvania men's wrestling team changing and showering in a locker room have been displayed as pornography on a paid Internet site and offered for sale via mail order, a university official said yesterday.

At least one tape was made in December 1997 at the Midlands Open, an annual wrestling championship held at Northwestern University, probably with a camera hidden in a gym bag with a mesh opening, said Ken Wildes, director of university relations. Another tape may have been made in the Penn locker room, he said.

Penn officials learned of the Midlands tape in June 1998 when a concerned wrestler from another college sent a copy to a Penn wrestler, who notified his coach.

``As you can imagine, some of our wrestlers were not amused by this, and their parents were not amused,'' Wildes said.

The university launched an investigation and also notified the FBI, Wildes said. The FBI had been alerted about similar tapes in 1995 by an official at Northwestern University, according to Wildes, who worked at Northwestern at the time.

But the tapes could not be traced, and university officials discovered that even if they had a suspect, no law in Pennsylvania at the time would have prohibited such taping.

Now, however, there is an applicable law. A Delaware County lawyer accused of secretly taping women in the bathroom of his house was charged last month with invasion of privacy and illegal wiretapping under a statute passed last May.

Wildes said the university would welcome any information on the old tapes or any new ones.

``It's reprehensible that something like this was done to our wrestlers,'' he said.

He said the videotapes were distributed on a Web site called Young Studs Online, which charges $7.95 a month and boasts: ``We proudly feature the Internet's largest collection on the web of hidden camera locker room photos!''

Wildes said the incident had not damaged morale on the team, which placed 11th in the nation this season.

In men's locker rooms, he added, athletes are used to changing and showering as all kinds of people come and go: teammates, coaches, trainers, sportswriters.

``A guy comes in with a bag, you wouldn't even give him a look,'' he said.

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