A California father was arrested last week on child pornography charges after, authorities said, his wife found a hidden camera in their guest bathroom that turned up more than 900 images of child sex abuse, police said.
Police arrested Ryan Rovito, 34, of Redding, about 160 miles north of Sacramento, on a warrant Thursday, a little over a week after his wife was alleged to have found the hidden camera and handed it over to police, along with a connected hard drive. Authorities said they discovered the child sex abuse images and multiple videos from the camera when they performed a forensic analysis on the devices, Redding police said.
"The videos showed children and adults using the bathroom who did not appear to know they were being recorded," police said.
After Rovito's wife discovered the camera March 8, he is alleged to have "admitted knowledge of the camera but vowed to remove and discard it," police said.
Rovito's wife then handed the electronics over to police, "fearing Mr. Rovito had nefariously recorded their young children using the bathroom," police said. After they performed the analysis that turned up the hundreds of child sex abuse photos and multiple videos, detectives got an arrest warrant and took Rovito into custody Thursday during a traffic stop near Buenaventura Boulevard and Placer Street in Redding.
He was booked into the Shasta County Jail on charges related to the felony possession of child pornography and the surreptitious recording of an identifiable person who was undressed, police said.
He posted $25,000 bail the same day he was arrested, according to Sgt. Rob Garnero of the Redding Police Department.
If convicted, Rovito could face between 16 months and 8 years in prison on the possession of child porn charges, according to Garnero, who added that he could also instead be sentenced to probation and be required to register as a sex offender for life instead of facing prison time.
Rovito could also face up to a year in county jail on the surreptitious recording charge, which is a misdemeanor under California law, according to Garnero. But he added that "that scenario is unlikely as Rovito does not have a criminal history."
Rovito did not immediately respond to a text to a phone number listed under his name Sunday. It was not immediately clear whether he has a lawyer who can speak on his behalf.
Court records show that Rovito's wife requested and was granted a temporary restraining order against him Friday, the day after he was arrested. The next court date in that case is set for April 7, according to court records, which characterize the case as "domestic violence prevention with minor children."
Rovito's wife could not immediately be reached for comment Sunday.
Rovito's next court date on the child porn possession and surreptitious recording charges is April 21, Garnero said.