Monroe County

Possible plea ahead in case of Parma music teacher facing child porn charges

Rochester, N.Y. – A plea agreement may be coming in the case of the owner of a Parma music school facing dozens of charges related to child pornography.
Philip Close, the owner of Close School of Music on West Ridge Road, was arrested in 2019 after allegedly using a hidden camera to record victims in a bathroom at the school.
Federal prosecutors later charged Close with production of child pornography.
During a plea hearing Thursday, the court acknowledged the defendant’s reported intention to plead guilty to the full indictment.
The presiding judge noted the court has an obligation to make sure Close has a full understanding regarding each charge and details related to each, such as victims associated with each charge and timeframes of each allegation, and said prosecutors would be turning over materials outlining such information. The defense asked for a couple weeks to go over this information with the defendant.
Close will be due back in court in mid-March, at which point the judge said the case may move forward by plea.
Close is facing more than 70 federal charges – including 61 counts of production of child pornography.
In 2019, Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies say they were notified by a customer at the school about the discovery of a hidden camera in the bathroom. Court papers allege Close installed a small camera with a micro SD card under the sink to “record unsuspecting persons naked and using the bathroom”.
A search warrant reportedly turned up multiple cameras, however investigators said at the time it was not clear which devices were used for surveillance and which were allegedly used for criminal purposes.
Another search warrant was executed at Close’s home in Rochester. Several devices were reportedly seized during the search. According to federal prosecutors, a laptop taken from the home contained three videos of a minor, one of which purportedly showed the child using the restroom. Another purportedly showed the same minor laying on a piano bench and Close’s leg, with Close allegedly touching the child’s stomach and other body parts.
A Monroe County grand jury later indicted Close on 37 counts of unlawful surveillance.

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