RACINE COUNTY -- Formal charges have been filed against the owner of a Wind Lake gymnastics facility accused of placing a hidden camera in a bathroom, and being in possession of child pornography. James Kivisto was arrested on March 13, and prosecutors say he admitted to recording juveniles while they changed on "multiple occasions." They are asking parents with children who attend this facility to contact investigators, and they've set up a hotline to assist with that process.
James Kivisto, 49, of Wind Lake faces 10 counts of possession of child pornography.
"We are going to expose every aspect of this disgusting man's character," said Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling.
According to a criminal complaint, on March 12, investigators with the Racine County Sheriff's Office began looking into a report that there was a camera placed in a bathroom at the Wind Lake Gymnastics Center on S. Loomis Rd. near Racine Ave. The individual who found the camera told law enforcement he took it home and watched video from the camera that showed Kivisto setting it up. The individual also reported seeing a high school aged girl adjusting her hair in a mirror, before walking off camera and returning with a different outfit on. The individual said he stopped watching and contacted law enforcement.
Kivisto was interviewed by investigators, and prosecutors say he admitted to placing the camera in the bathroom. He indicated he "looks through all the video from the camera and saves the videos he is attracted to, and deletes those he is not attracted to." He said "because he has worked with kids for such a long time, he is a good judge on how old a child might be just by looking at them."
He admitted to being "attracted to young females," and told investigators 12 years old is the youngest he's attracted to, according to the complaint.
His computer was searched, and prosecutors say a large number of photos and video of young children getting dressed and undressed were discovered. Additionally, investigators found a "large number of nude photos and videos of child pornography."
"Anyone that walked into that washroom and used it -- anyone who changed their clothing in that room where he had those cameras -- he had the ability to view," said Schmaling.
Schmaling said this could've been prevented had Kivisto been put behind bars nearly two decades ago.
"Back in 1999, he was arrested by the Glendale Police Department for possession of child pornography," said Schmaling.
He was never charged by the Milwaukee County District Attorney's Office for that incident despite Schmaling saying the FBI was involved in the case.
"My heart goes out to you, " said Schmaling. "We are going to do everything we can to get to the bottom of it."
Kivisto made his initial appearance in court in this latest case on March 15. Probable cause was found for further proceedings and a preliminary hearing was set for March 21.
Cash bond was set at $150,000 -- and it was ordered that Kivisto cannot have any contact with any minor children unless accompanied by two other adults. He can have no contact with the Wind Lake Gymnastics Center.
Racine County Sheriff Christopher Schmaling said Thursday, March 15 a hotline has been created for concerned parents to call -- in the wake of the arrest of Kivisto and the charges being filed against him. That hotline is 262-636-3990.
Schmaling said his office has already fielded 150 phone calls from concerned parents on this issue. All of those calls are being returned by investigators, Schmaling said.
Schmaling said at this time, it does not appear Kivisto was distributing the images he allegedly captured on camera. The sheriff said Kivisto kept a ledger that included the names of 803 children.
Kivisto has owned and operated Wind Lake Gymnastics Center for approximately the past 11 years, officials said. Schmaling said Kivisto also lived at the business. Furthermore, he has coached gymnastics since 1987 in both Racine County and Milwaukee County.