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December 06, 2015

Montco man charged with filming kids changing got probation for same crime in '90s

After incident at same theme park, man told judge 'it will never happen again'

Courts Charges
Dorney Park souvenir bullet Google Maps/Street View

Dorney Park has stopped sell personalized souvenir rifle bullets in the amusement park's gift shop after receiving criticism.

A Montgomery County man was charged with recording children in the changing rooms at Allentown's Dorney Park earlier this week.

This wasn't his first run-in with prosecutors, however. He was accused of performing the same crime at the same park in the 1990s – and got probation for it.

The man, 51-year-old Kurt Eichert of Wyndmoor, was hit with counts of producing and possessing child pornography, the United States Attorney's Office announced Thursday. For ten years starting in 2005, he allegedly filmed kids of unspecified ages while they were changing at the theme park.

The case brought against him mirrors his previous run in with the law, specifically when he was caught filming inside a changing room at Dorney's Wildwater Kingdom water park in 1996.

A Morning Call report from the time details how Eichert was found using a gym bag to film teenage boys and young men:

Eichert used a video camera hidden in a gym bag to tape boys and young men in various stages of undress in a changing room at the South Whitehall Township water park.
A Philadelphia police detective, who was in the room with his young son, became suspicious when Eichert put his head in a gym bag and moved to different benches. The detective saw a camera lens through the mesh flap at one end of the bag.

An attempted sexual abuse charge was dropped in that case because prosecutors didn't think he intended to "prey on young children and wasn't a danger to the community."

He ended up getting three-years probation and a $5,000 fine, as the judge was "reassured" the taping focused on adults and not juveniles and a psychologist determined he didn't have the charactersitics of someone who abused children.

After his sentencing, Eichert, whose defense lawyers argued he was confused about his sexuality at the time, said he was publicly humiliated and told the judge "it will never happen again."

According to a report from the Morning Call about the latest charges, a park spokesman said the park does not comment on security issues when asked whether he had been banned after his previous arrest.

Recent court documents acquired by the newspaper say Eichert labeled his compiled photos and videos "Water Park Fun" and shared them online. 

The documents also claim in several recordings he zoomed the camera in on boys' genitals. 

He now faces between 15-80 years in prison.