Brian Beauchaine is accused of using a secret video camera to take inappropriate photos of an unsuspecting person in his Lake Waccamaw home April 1 through June 4, according to Lake Waccamaw Police Chief Scott Hyatt.
Authorities are unable to serve the charges at this time, but Hyatt said he could not explain the delay due to HIPPA, an act that protects health information.
Hyatt said the SBI is examining items that may lead to further charges.
Beauchaine was reported missing the evening of June 4. Hyatt said Beauchaine left his home after someone found the hidden camera. He was found the next night outside a Leland restaurant.
"It's always upsetting when there's an officer that's involved in a crime like this, or any crime for that matter," Hyatt said. "But we always hope that the community will understand that's just one bad apple out of a lot of officers that are doing a very good job everyday."
Capt. Richard Lawson of the Fair Bluff Police Department was unable to advise if Beauchaine was still employed there Friday morning.
"I don't know. I know he was suspended," said Lawson, who explained he had just returned to the office after being away for several days
CHESTERFIELD COP CHARGED IN GAS STATION SPYCAM, SEX ACT TAPING
By Joel Currier and Susan Weich
CHESTERFIELD • A Chesterfield police officer secretly videotaped men in a gas station restroom stall, lured anonymous sex partners to his home through Craigslist ads and posted dozens of voyeuristic and pornographic videos to his own website, authorities say.
David Cerna, 33, of the 4000 block of Jessica Drive in Wentzville, who had served the Chesterfield Police Department for six years without raising suspicions of superiors, was charged Friday with invasion of privacy in St. Louis and St. Charles counties.
Chesterfield police say that over several months, Cerna collected videos from a spy camera he installed in a men’s restroom at the Mobil On The Run gas station on Clarkson Road south of Chesterfield Mall. Some of those videos and dozens more taped with sex partners at his home in Wentzville were hosted on his porn website.
Investigators say they have identified some victims and are looking for more.
The investigation stemmed from reporting by Post-Dispatch partner Fox 2 News, whose reporter, Chris Hayes, made police aware of the video camera on May 30.
Using Hayes’ information, online comments from one of the alleged victims and the help of the St. Charles County cybercrimes task force, police traced the address of the computer server hosting the website that aired the videos to Cerna’s home. Cerna was arrested Thursday night at his home by his fellow officers.
“We of course are deeply saddened and disturbed that one of our officers acted in such a reprehensible manner,” Chesterfield Police Chief Ray Johnson said in a statement. “However, once we learned of his involvement, we acted swiftly to minimize the possibility of any additional victims; and to hold Officer Cerna accountable for his actions.”
The video camera at the Mobil and Cerna’s website were removed during the department’s week-long investigation, police said. His record had been clear of any previous violations that would have raised suspicions.
Charges in St. Charles County stem from Cerna’s now-defunct website, police say. Cerna has admitted to the crimes and told investigators he placed ads on Craigslist posing as women wanting casual sex, and would send photos of a woman he didn’t know to men who responded.
After sending photos, Cerna provided a cellphone number and sent text messages from that number, giving his home address with instructions on what to do when men came to the front door.
Cerna said he would record video of men having anonymous oral sex with Cerna through a hole in a door. As many as 60 men visited his home over 18 months, Cerna told police.
At this time, two of those men, both 24, have been identified, police said.
Cerna told police that in January, he bought a domain name from a web hosting company and created a site where he would post about 40 videos at a time.
Reaction to the charges against Cerna ranged from dismay to apathy to disgust.
Tracey Hughes, a spokeswoman for Wallis Companies, which owns Mobil on the Run stores in the St. Louis region, visited the Chesterfield station on Friday.
She said the company is “dismayed that an individual would take it upon himself to breach that privacy” of workers and staff. Hughes said staff and customers use the same bathrooms at the Mobil On the Run in Chesterfield.
“We value our customers’ privacy and our employees’ privacy,” she said. “We have a great relationship with the Chesterfield Police Department.”
Bob Nichols, who left the Mobil On the Run on Friday with a fountain soda and a snack, said that learning of Cerna’s charges was disappointing but, sadly, not surprising.
“It’s crazy, but I wish I could say I was shocked,” said Nichols, 54, of Fenton. “It’s almost sad that it doesn’t shock you anymore.”
Jared Steeples had a different take.
“That’s nasty,” said Steeples, 21, of north St. Louis County, who works at a nearby pizza shop and was stopping by the Mobil on a break Friday. “I’ll still buy stuff from