Police, Cleveland, Tennessee, school officials identify 30 girls captured on 'covert' camera in locker room

Christopher Schroll
photo Contributed photo by Bradley County Sheriff's Office / Christopher Schroll, 31, of Cleveland, Tenn.

Authorities and school officials have identified 30 girls who were captured on a camera hidden in a girls' locker room at Cleveland Middle School that led to charges Wednesday against a school employee and his return to jail Thursday.

Christopher Schroll, 31, was charged Wednesday with attempted aggravated unlawful photography of a minor, Cleveland Police Department spokesperson Evie West said in a news release on the arrest.

Schroll is listed on the school's website as an eighth-grade science teacher.

"All 30 female students were identified by CMS [Cleveland Middle School] female personnel. We have communicated with Cleveland City Schools personnel to confirm that the school administration will be making the notifications to the families of the female students," West said in a statement issued Thursday.

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"In the meantime, our investigators have conducted a search of his home and are conducting forensic exams on electronic devices that are connected to him," she said.

"During the investigation, detectives were able to determine that the Cleveland Middle School covert video recording was conducted over a two-day period, thus constituting a second charge/count of attempted aggravated unlawful photography of a minor," West said in a follow-up email.

"Therefore, Christopher Schroll was arrested again on Thursday, March 17, 2022, and has been returned to the Bradley County Justice Center with no bond," she said.

Schroll had been freed Wednesday on a $10,000 bond.

Police are working with Cleveland City Schools administrators and the 10th Judicial District attorney general "to make sure that this situation is investigated thoroughly and Schroll is held accountable for his actions," West said.

Thursday afternoon, Cleveland City Schools Director of Schools Russell Dyer and Cleveland Middle School Principal Nat Akiona spoke to parents and the community on a video posted on the system website.

Dyer reiterated that school officials' primary concern is for the safety and well-being of students and promised continued cooperation with investigators. He said families of students initially identified and those additionally identified Thursday have been notified and provided with information regarding the ongoing probe.

As the investigation continues, families of any additional students identified will be contacted directly and provided with information, he said.

Akiona said officials have already begun to take steps to address the situation.

"Today, the following steps are being taken to support our students at Cleveland Middle School: We will be meeting with all students who had interactions with the individual in a teaching or coaching role and offer any support they need at this time," Akiona said. "And we will continue to support these students moving forward."

Dyer told parents school officials are equally stricken by the allegations.

"Parents, we understand that you are upset, we are also upset. We also understand that you are sad because we're sad as well," Dyer said. "We understand your concerns related to the situation. We share these concerns."

Dyer said the system will provide more updates in the future as the investigation develops.

Schroll was charged Wednesday after a student found what police initially described as a "covert electronic recording device," Cleveland police said in a statement on the initial arrest.

School administrators notified school resource officer John Milen, who was joined by the department's criminal investigations division to work with school staff and began conducting interviews, officials said.

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Schroll was identified and arrested within 24 hours of the discovery of the device.

Schroll couldn't be immediately reached for comment. Schroll was arraigned on the charge Thursday morning, according to officials in Bradley County General Sessions Court. It's unknown if Schroll has an attorney.

Meanwhile, anyone with information related to the investigation can contact Cleveland police Detective Bobby Ruth at 423-476-1121.

Contact Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Follow him on Twitter @BenBenton.