ESPN reporter filming suspect released on bond - East Valley Tribune: Get Out

ESPN reporter filming suspect released on bond

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Posted: Monday, October 5, 2009 10:09 pm | Updated: 3:15 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

An Illinois insurance executive accused of secretly making nude videos of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews apparently uploaded videos of other unsuspecting nude women to the Internet, a federal prosecutor said Monday.

Michael D. Barrett, 47, of Westmont, was released on $4,500 bond but was ordered to wear an ankle monitoring bracelet, to adhere to a strict curfew and not to use the Internet. He is due in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles on Oct. 23 to face federal charges of interstate stalking.

Barrett is accused of making the videos by modifying peepholes in hotel room doors, using a hacksaw and a cell phone camera, and then trying to sell them to Los Angeles-based celebrity gossip site TMZ.

Barrett continues to be a danger to Andrews and "a danger to other women," Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Grimes told U.S. Magistrate Judge Arlander Keys during Barrett's bond hearing Monday.

"Yes, Judge, there are other women," Grimes said. "He has used his computer to disseminate these videos to the world."

Grimes said the government has confiscated two computers and cell phones used by Barrett, and "feels strongly that those items will provide further evidence."

Like the Andrews videos, the videos of the other women were shot through a door peephole and uploaded to the Internet under a name Barrett used, "GOBLAZERS1," Grimes said.

Andrews appears in at least eight videos nude. An FBI affidavit said Barrett specifically asked for a room next to Andrews at a Tennessee hotel where seven videos were likely taken. An eighth video may have been shot at a Milwaukee hotel.

Barrett was described by his attorney, Rick Beuke, as having plenty of money and a good track record at work. Beuke said his employer, the Combined Insurance Co., based in Glenview, where he is in insurance sales, is "very supportive."

But Combined Insurance spokeswoman Amy Burrell-Tichy said later Monday that Barrett has been suspended from his job and "there is no timeframe with this suspension." She declined say whether he would be paid while suspended.

She said the company is cooperating with the FBI and conducting an internal investigation because the affidavit alleges Barrett may have used Combined Insurance computers in the alleged crimes.

Beuke told reporters after court that Barrett has many friends and that the person described in an FBI affidavit released Saturday "is certainly not the Mike Barrett that any of us know." He said he had spoken with Barrett's parents, who live near Portland, Ore., and "this is a tough time for them."

Keys said he did not "want to minimize the seriousness of what Mr. Barrett is charged with here" and described it as "a very horrific crime." But the judge said Barrett had strong friendships in the community, no criminal record and no sign of drug or alcohol abuse. He also had noted that Barrett had a steady job.

Barrett was released late Monday afternoon and sped away in a yellow Mustang without stopping to comment. He avoided reporters and went in a back door upon arriving at his suburban Chicago home.

Andrews attorney Marshall Grossman of Santa Monica, Calif., did not immediately return a call seeking comment on Barrett's release.

Marriott International Inc. and Ramada Worldwide, which operate the hotels where the videos may have been shot, have issued statements saying they are concerned about their guests privacy and safety, are looking into the matter and are cooperating with authorities.

Interstate stalking carries a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.

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