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Hidden hotel cameras spur Wisconsin agents to probe trips

Madison East High School (PHOTO: WMTV)

Madison East High School (PHOTO: WMTV)

MADISON — Wisconsin authorities are looking into a Madison high school business club’s past trips after students discovered hidden cameras in their hotel room.

East High School DECA students found the cameras in their room during a trip to Minneapolis on the first weekend in December. The Madison school district responded by placing a staff member on leave. The staffer has yet to be identified.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice agents and Minneapolis police are investigating the incident. East’s interim principal, Brendan Kearney, forwarded an email containing a message from state DOJ agent Jesse Crowe to parents on Dec. 16, The Wisconsin State Journal reported Friday. Crowe wrote that the agency’s Division of Criminal Investigation was leading an investigation into any events that occurred prior to this month’s trip, including anything that occurred outside the state.

Crowe said agents would be working with the Madison school district to collect information about past events, trips and attendees. He provided an email address for former DECA trip participants to share information.

“We are sorry to have to contact you in this way and can only imagine what you must be feeling,” Kearney wrote. “We want you to know that East and (the Madison school district) will do whatever we can to protect and support both our current and former students.”

District spokesman Tim LeMonds said he wasn’t aware of agents focusing on any specific past trip. The district plans its own internal investigation after law enforcement agencies finish their probe.

Wisconsin Justice Department officials didn’t reply to the newspaper’s request for comment. Minneapolis police spokesman John Elder said he had no updates on the investigation.

DECA is an international organization that works to foster student interest in business and prepares students for marketing, finance and hospitality jobs through challenges and competitions.

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