Two men charged in nude photo scheme

Two Star Shots employees were charged earlier this week with several counts of sexually exploiting minors after several teen-aged girls told police they were asked to take their clothes off in exchange for free pictures.

James C. Dekluyver, 23, and David C. Brown, 28, both of Tacoma, will be arraigned in King County Superior Court Feb. 25.

Dekluyver, charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of a minor, was accused of soliciting several 14- and 15-year-old girls, some of whom he nicknamed Vixen, Flash and Alaska, to pose nude individually and together in exchange for free photos.

He admitted to police after his arrest Feb. 7 that he knew the girls were 14 and 15 years old, that he developed the photos and removed them from the store and that he destroyed the negatives and photos so he wouldn’t have any evidence in his possession, according to charging papers.

Brown, who was the store manager, was charged with three counts of sexual exploitation for his part in the scheme. According to court papers, Dekluyver accused Brown of serving as a lookout and standing in front of photo printing machines to block customer views of the nude photographs.

Brown denied taking part in the scheme and has hired an attorney, according to charging papers.

Neither man is currently working at the Sea Tac Mall Star Shots, according to mall management.

Sea Tac Mall management is reviewing Star Shots’ lease to determine what action, if any, the mall will take. The lease prohibits nude photography at the studio.

Mall general manager Gary Martindale said management is still unsure if the lease will be terminated, adding Star Shots has been a good tenant and has the right to fix the problems in its operation.

The glamour photography studio, which opened its Sea Tac Mall location in April 2000, brings a lot of traffic, mainly teen-age girls, he said.

“We want to work with them,” he said. “At this point, we’re happy to have them here.”

Star Shots is popular for its affordable, wallet-sized photo packages, which many teen-agers trade with friends at school. Martindale said his daughter has been a customer at the studio’s Tacoma location.

The explicit photography began late last year, when a mall regular, a 15-year-old Kilo Junior High student, began a friendship with Dekluyver, according to charging papers.

In a written statement, the student said Dekluyver told her men brought their girlfriends to the photo shop to have pictures taken nude.

The Mirror is not naming any of the girls because they are minors.

The girl told police she asked him one day to take photos of her, but said she didn’t have any money. She told police he said he would take pictures for free if she flashed her breasts.

The 15-year-old told police she agreed to the proposition and flashed him in the back room. He then took pictures of her clothed and gave them to her for free.

She said she went back five or six times for more pictures.

In November, the 15-year-old brought a friend, who was almost 16 at the time, for pictures at Star Shots. Dekluyver said he would take pictures of the girls if they flashed him, according to charging papers, and the girls agreed. He then took some clothed pictures of them.

Dekluyver then asked the girls if they were interested in topless photos, according to court papers. The girls removed their shirts and bras and Dekluyver took several pictures.

He then talked the girls into removing their pants, according to charging papers. The 15-year-old took her pants off, but told police she wrapped her sweater around her waist. The almost-16-year-old posed in her panties.

At a later date, the 15-year-old went back to Star Shots with two friends, the almost-16-year-old and a girl who was 14 at the time, who all agreed to pose topless. Dekluyver took about 60 pictures of the girls nude, according to court papers.

Dekluyver told police he gave the girls copies of the explicit photos as well as pictures of them clothed.

During the course of the month-long investigation, police found two more girls, 14 and almost 15 at the time, who were photographed nude at Star Shots.

The men were arrested Feb. 7, but police didn’t release information until Feb. 12, after they were charged.

So far, police are aware of the five girls named in charging papers, though they are asking anyone else who was solicited for nude photographs to call Detective Sandra Templeton at (253) 661-4740.

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