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Air Force officer used spy camera to record kids in family member’s bathroom, feds say

A judge's gavel rests on a book of law. (Dreamstime/TNS)

An Air Force officer is going to prison after federal prosecutors say he used a hidden spy camera to record children using the bathroom and bathing at his family member’s home, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.

Hundreds of child porn videos were found stored on his laptop as a result of the investigation — including “prepubescent minors engaged in sex acts,” a May 5 news release said.

Air Force 1st Lt. Jason Daniel Ort, 36, of Maryland, was sentenced to 11 years in federal prison on May 4 after prosecutors said he transported child porn he recorded and “possessed” from Maryland to New York. He is from Waldorf.

Four children under 12 years of age whom he is accused of secretly filming at his relative’s home were related to him or under his “custody, care or supervisory control,” according to stipulation of facts outlined in a plea agreement obtained by McClatchy News.

McClatchy News reached out to Ort’s attorneys for comment on May 6 and was awaiting a response.

During the investigation into Ort that began in 2020, he worked at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, an affidavit made public revealed. McClatchy News contacted the base on May 6 inquiring whether Ort was discharged in connection with this case and was awaiting a response.

Ort has been an airman for 18 years and is a cyberspace operations officer, according to his Linkedin profile, which is still active. During his career, he has served in Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait on deployments, his profile’s “about” section said.

The start of the investigation

In October 2020, the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office in New York was notified by an adult woman, who has not been named, that Ort put a round, “black spy camera in (her) bedroom while visiting (her) home,” the news release said. Ort visited this adult’s home in Syracuse to visit her family, according to the plea agreement.

This woman found the hidden camera with an SD card, and after reviewing the card, she “discovered a video of a minor female using the bathroom and lifting up her dress to wipe herself,” the news release said. Then, Ort was seen “entering the bathroom and adjusting the camera.”

During this time, the Air Force had scheduled Ort for leave so he could visit the Syracuse home, according to prosecutors. He was arrested on Oct. 2, 2020, in Syracuse, and the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations was subsequently notified of this, the affidavit said.

When Ort was interviewed by the sheriff’s office, he admitted to hiding the camera in the woman’s bedroom as well as “placing the camera in several other locations, including in a bathroom facing the toilet at a family member’s residence in Pocomoke City, Maryland,” the stipulation of facts said.

“Ort said he watched the videos to ‘get off’ and knew his actions were wrong.”

The sheriff’s office then seized Ort’s spy camera, SD card and laptop, prosecutors said. On the SD card, there were “at least 10 video files depicting minor females using the bathroom and bathing,” that were recorded at his relative’s home in Maryland.

At this relative’s home, “the camera appeared to be affixed under the sink, facing the toilet and the shower,” according to the stipulation of facts. The recorded videos showed private areas of the children whom he was supposed to care for. An adult female victim was also recorded naked, prosecutors said.

Several files “constituting child pornography” were found on the laptop, the stipulation of facts noted.

In November 2020, a state search warrant was executed at his Maryland home, and another laptop of Ort’s revealed a Google search on Oct. 7 of that year for “production of child pornography charge” days after his arrest in New York, according to investigators.

It also showed he visited a website titled “Citizen’s guide to U.S. Federal Law on Child Pornography.”

“Law enforcement found video files that were duplicates of or compilations of clips from the videos found on the SD card depicting the minor victims,” the news release said.

Upon Ort’s release from prison, he will be supervised for 15 years and has to “register as a sex offender in the places where he resides, where he is an employee, and where he is a student,” according to the attorney’s office.

Waldorf, where Ort is from, is roughly 40 miles southwest of Annapolis.

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