Jacksonville Beach photographer charged with video voyeurism

Police: Photographer set up camera to record 16-year-old in dressing room

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A popular Jacksonville Beach photographer is accused of video voyeurism after police say he recorded a model in a dressing room without her knowledge.

Jacksonville Beach police arrested 43-year-old Mario Arthur Peralta III at his home Monday after the girl's parents complained to police. He is charged with felony video voyeurism.

Police said the victim, a 16-year-old girl, was taking pictures with Peralta on Saturday at a Jacksonville Beach photography studio. They said that before she arrived, he set up a hidden digital camera in the dressing room, which recorded her dressing and undressing.

Investigators collected evidence Wednesday at the studio where they said the crime happened.

Those who've worked with Peralta find it hard to believe. A mom whose daughter has worked with Peralta for years said it just doesn't sound like something he would do.

"Another model mom had messaged me and said, 'Did you see what happened?'" Amanda Ruiz said. "When I saw it, I was in shock, and I still can't believe it. I'm praying that this is not true."

Ruiz's daughter is the same age as the teen Peralta is accused of recording. She said they've had nothing but good experiences with him.

"He's always been professional," Ruiz said. "There was no nothing weird or any kind of weird sensation or anything from him."

According to his website, Peralta has worked as a photographer for more than two decades, and his work has been published in many local magazines.

Ruiz said she believes in the justice system and is waiting to see how the case pans out, while thinking of her daughter.

"My daughter's done sheets with him since she was 13 and on," Ruiz said. "She's now 16, so I'm just praying that, you know, the detectives don't find any more girls that are going to be victims."

Police are asking anyone who worked with Peralta at the studio and felt like something was not right to come forward.

They said at least one other person has come forward already.

Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact Detective M. Kulcsar at 904-247-4030.