Law & Order Spurs Girl to Report Abuse; Man Arrested

12-year-old told her mom she'd been touched inappropriately
By Elizabeth Armstrong Moore,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2015 8:45 AM CST
Law & Order Spurs Girl to Report Abuse; Man Arrested
Actress Mariska Hargitay, right, star of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," talks about thousands of rape kits nationwide still awaiting DNA testing during a news conference, Nov. 12, 2014.   (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

The case is a little murky, but a prominent Maryland businessman is under arrest almost a year after he emailed his nanny/housekeeper a photo of her 11-year-old daughter in underwear changing into a shirt. The mom reported the photo to Robert Shapiro's wife, reports WJLA, and the couple began divorce proceedings after Shapiro admitted he put a tiny camera in a bathroom in the couple's $800,000 house. But apparently no charges came of the creepy photo until December, when the mom watched a Law & Order: Special Victims Unit episode about sexual abuse with her now 12-year-old daughter. When she asked her daughter if anyone had ever touched her inappropriately, the girl replied, "Rob did it." Now the mortgage banker, athletic coach, and former PTA member is facing charges of child sex abuse.

The charging documents allege that Shapiro on at least one occasion took the girl alone to a basement bedroom to place sensors and a nerve stimulator on her chest, hips, and buttocks, and that he took photos of the unclothed girl, claiming he "wanted to remember where he kept the [sensor] tabs." While the father of two young kids wasn't reached for comment yesterday, his attorney told WJLA that Shapiro "vehemently denies the allegation." Meanwhile, the parents of a 17-year-old neighbor who claimed in September that Shapiro photographed and molested her earlier that year hope the case, dropped due to lack of evidence, will be reexamined. "Everybody kind of thought he was weird but had no idea that he would be a child predator," says another neighbor, adding that "this is a man that put himself out there in positions to be around children." (Late last year, USA Swimming fell under the spotlight for what has been called rampant sex abuse.)

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