Ex-Blytheville reserve officer faces trial over recorded tanning sessions

BLYTHEVILLE, Ark. (AP) - The trial for a former Blytheville reserve police officer accused of video voyeurism has been delayed until August.
Chris Hardy is charged with two counts of video voyeurism. Prosecutors accused him of placing a video camera in the room of his home where several teenage girls came to use a tanning bed.
The Blytheville Courier News reports (http://is.gd/x4UH34 ) that a judge this week delayed Hardy's trial until Aug. 20. A pretrial hearing was set for Aug. 2.
Police say the girls were 16 and 17. They reported finding camera under some pillows on a couch that was in the same room as the tanning bed.
Hardy has pleaded not guilty.

BLYTHEVILLE, AR (KAIT) – Officials with the Blytheville Police Department confirmed to Region 8 News an ongoing investigation is underway involving a reserve police officer accused of video voyeurism.

According to Captain Scott Adams, Chris A. Hardy, who lives in Blytheville, was accused by two teenage girls of videotaping them while using a tanning bed in an apartment on his property. Adams said while Hardy has not been charged with any crime, he has been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

"It's going to be a difficult investigation. One we have to make sure we have evidence to support the allegations made by the young girls," said Adams. "It's going to be difficult. We have to prove, one, that it happened and that it happened there and the girls are being truthful. I have no reason to believe that they're not."

Adams told Region 8 News the girls reported using the tanning bed September 29. The girls, 16 and 17, discovered the camera under couch pillows, aimed toward the tanning bed. After the discovery, the girls reviewed the footage that had been taken. They reported to police that some of the footage showed them while nude.

"They're parents brought them up to the police department and we started the investigation, we took the information, contacted the state police because the accusations included Mr. Hardy, who is a reserve part time officer," said Adams. "We're trying to hope to see what we have as far as evidence before we discuss anything with him. We have called him in and obviously put him on administrative leave through his reserve status and hopefully we'll have something resolved here before long that we could present to the prosecutor."

Police told Region 8 News at least one of the girls attend Blytheville High School.

"The girls are alleging that they were at Chris Hardy's house here in Blytheville with the purpose of using his tanning bed and while, during the tanning or shortly after each tan, they discovered a video camera, which was videotaping at the time," said Adams.

Region 8 News attempted to reach Hardy Tuesday for comment. Attempts to contact him were not successful.

Under Section 5-16-101 of the Arkansas Code, video voyeurism is a Class D felony if convicted.

Adams said Hardy's status as a police officer has been revoked for the time being.

"His duties are part time or reserve when there's a need for extra officers, ballgames parades special events like that, typically they'll be called in to help with that, sometime even including working shifts," said Adams.

Adams said Blytheville Police initially contacted Arkansas State Police to perform a criminal investigation into the accusation. He said ASP opted not to investigate due to limited resources.

"Another factor I believe is going to be their age. They weren't' at their house. They were at somebody else's house, but I believe that they thought they were in a private area," said Adams. "We presented, when we had the information that first day, because of his status with this department, we contacted the prosecutor here local, who is Curtis Walker. Mr. Walker basically said that he'd rather us contact Mr. Ellington because of Chris' involvement with the police department."

Adams said evidence has been sent to a crime lab in Jonesboro for examination. He said other pieces of evidence have been sent to labs across the United States.

"What evidence can we collect in this case and whether or not certain images may have been captured," said Adams.

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