Police: Dad's discovery led to photographer's arrest

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

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – A popular Jacksonville Beach photographer was arrested Monday after the father of a 16-year-old model found a camera hidden in a studio dressing room, according to a police report released Thursday.

Mario Peralta, 42, has been charged with felony video voyeurism.

The girl's father found the camera hidden inside a digital clock inside the studio dressing room, the report said. On the recordings, he found video of his daughter nude, and images of the man he trusted to take pictures of her.

Police said the man came to the Jacksonville Beach Police Department on Sunday, saying he believed his 16-year-old daughter had been recorded while dressing and undressing in the photography studio where Peralta rented space.

The man told investigators he and his wife took their daughter there to update her modeling portfolio. He said he stayed behind when Peralta and the girl went to a local park to take more pictures.

While they were gone, the man went inside the dressing room and saw a digital clock on a shelf. Finding the clock odd, he examined it and found an SD card inside.

Investigators said the man took the card home, and when he viewed the first video file, he said it showed Peralta walking into the dressing room and adjusting the view of the clock.

He told police he kept looking through the files and found video images of his daughter both dressed and nude.

Police said once investigators watched the video, they saw six videos where Peralta's face could be seen adjusting the camera and other videos where Peralta can be seen touching his private parts and pointing a remote at the hidden camera.

"I was and still am in shock," model Joelianna McLane said. "It just doesn't seem like Mario to do anything like this at all."

McLane said she started working with Peralta at 15 years old. She said he guided her through her modeling career.

"He would always be the father figure by pushing people away, like making sure that we were safe," McLane said. "I'm sure that we were comfortable. It doesn't seem like it is him."

Peralta has received an outpouring of support on social media from the fashion community.

"We're all in shock," McLane said. "We really don't think that he could do this honestly."

Some have even started using the hashtag #modelsformario in posts on his Facebook page, saying they've had nothing but good experiences with him.

"Whatever the outcome, just want everybody to remember how great of a guy he was and maybe he messed up, but this does not seem like the Mario we all know and love," McLane said.

The Jacksonville Beach Police Department has asked anyone who believes they might have been a victim to come forward. Investigators said they have received quite a few calls, but so far no one else has filed a report.

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