GROVE CITY — Police have accused a former Grove City College employee of videotaping students, including members of the football team, during a two-year period in the men’s locker room at the school.
Robert Jay Audia, 29, of Morgantown, W.Va., was charged Tuesday by Grove City police with sexual abuse of children, possession of child pornography, tampering with evidence, and 94 counts of invasion of privacy, according to court documents filed in the case.
He was arraigned Thursday before District Judge D. Neil McEwen, Pine Township, and released after posting $50,000 bond. His preliminary hearing is set for 10 a.m. June 13 with McEwen.
Jacki Muller, Grove City College’s senior director of marketing and communications, said Thursday in a statement that Audia was placed on administrative leave within 48 hours of school officials learning of the investigation in October and was terminated shortly after.
No images that Audia allegedly recorded were found in the public domain, and all identifiable victims have been notified.
“The College is deeply troubled by this shocking violation of trust. Maintaining a safe and secure community for our students continues to be our highest priority,” the college said in the statement.
According to police and court reports, Grove City Police met on Oct. 13 with GCC Athletic Director Todd Gibson regarding two football players who reported “suspicious incidents” involving Audia, who had been working as the assistant sports information director.
The two players said they believed Audia recorded athletes while they were in the shower and locker room area on two different occasions. Two soccer players and two students from the Fitwell program made similar reports, Gibson said.
The two football players were interviewed separately by police on Oct. 13. One of them said that on Aug. 24, some football players were in the locker room of the Physical Learning Center showering and changing, and he noticed Audia standing near the entrance of the shower, with his phone out and pressed against his thigh.
The player said he thought it was strange that Audia was there with his phone in that position. He watched Audia for several minutes, and noticed that the phone was always in the same position. When the player left, he noticed that Audia’s phone screen was on.
The second football player described a similar scenario on Aug. 24. He noticed that Audia’s phone appeared to be in the “record/photo” mode, and he detailed an incident from Oct. 7, when he saw Audia standing near the showers with his phone after a football game.
Again, he saw the “record” icon turned on, and as he left the locker room, he was unsure how to handle the situation.
Officers seized two phones – Audia’s personal Apple iPhone, and his college-issued Samsung Galaxy. During their interview, Audia told police that he recorded student athletes in various stages of undress, starting in April or May 2017.
He would either hold his phone down by his side or put it in his locker at the Physical Learning Center, which had a direct view of the shower area. He admitted to having 10 to 15 videos from the learning center locker room and field house locker room.
Police examined the phones along with several external drives found in Audia’s office at the college. Police could not get anything off of the iPhone because it had been reset. They retrieved images and videos from the Samsung that appeared to have been taken in a shower area.
They viewed 17 videos, several of which showed “normal college sports activity.” The other videos showed students, coaches, alumni or staff in various stages of undress in the Physical Learning Center locker room or the football team’s locker room.
There were 69 screen shots of naked students that appeared to come from the videos.
Police met on Jan. 30 with Gibson and Larry Hardesty, GCC vice president of student life and learning. The two officials helped identify students in the photos and videos, and Gibson also turned over an external hard drive with a file called “To Roberts Laptop.”
The hard drive had a video of the football locker room dated November 2015; most of the files were college activities, and two videos appeared to have been taken from inside Audia’s locker to record students and alumni in the shower area.
The other hard drives contained 42 videos from a locker room and more than 50 screen shots, some from inside Audia’s locker and some recordings taken while he was holding the phone.
Police printed about 450 pictures from all of the files to help identify the victims; some of those photos showed the same person. Gibson said they were able to identify 76 people who were students, coaches, alumni or GCC staff.
On April 27, police met with 51 of those people; one of the students was 17 at the time of the recording.
The files also included 24 photos of people believed to be students from Geneva College, whose soccer team played GCC on Oct. 30. Police met with 22 members of the soccer team who were identified by Geneva Athletic Director Van Zanic. The students were able to confirm their identities in the photos.