FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - A Pembroke Pines martial arts instructor accused of secretly videotaping women inside of a restroom appeared before a judge on Friday.
Robert Franco, 64, now faces a total of 10 voyeurism charges. He surrendered himself to authorities on Thursday, and if convicted, he could face more than 100 years in prison.
“He was looking at a maximum of 20 years, and now, he’s looking at a maximum of 115 years,” a prosecutor said in court. “This case involves victims aging between 3 and 5 years old.”
Franco was first charged in July after a teenage student at his taekwondo academy noticed two hidden cameras inside of the academy’s restroom.
When asked who asked her to try on a chest protector, she said, “[Franco] did, yes.”
She called her father, who then called 911 to report the cameras.
Pembroke Pines Police have since identified six additional victims.
“To secretly record a child, you are a level of perversion and sickness that is beyond help,” former police detective Stephan Lopez said.
Lopez credits Franco’s arrest to the 17-year-old student who was not afraid to speak up and hopes her actions inspire others.
“To not be scared to stand up for what you know is right. In cases like this, people tend to get away with it because girls don’t speak up,” she said.
Franco’s bond has been set at $175,000. If he posts bond, he will be confined to house arrest and has been ordered to not have contact with any children.
When Franco asked if the judge’s order includes his son, the judge said, “Yes, sir, that’s all children. Based on these allegations, you cannot have any contact with any children. Do you understand?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Franco replied.
Franco was also ordered to surrender his passport and not allowed to have any recording devices.
Detectives are still trying to identify additional victims.
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