Cumberland County officials are scrutinizing the computer files and office contents of former commissioner Bruce Barclay after a state police rape investigation took a shocking turn Wednesday.
State police investigators revealed an elaborate network of hidden cameras they say Barclay strategically placed within ordinary items in his home, such as AM/FM radios, enabling him to secretly videotape hundreds of sexual encounters.
The hidden camera network extended to Barclay’s private business office in Mechanicsburg, court documents say, with sex recorded there fed into his home computer system.
With that in mind, employees in the Cumberland County Information Management and Technology Office were instructed to look for “anything unusual” in Barclay’s office and computer, Commissioner Gary Eichelberger said this morning.
“His computer is going to be analyzed,” Eichelberger added. But so far “there’s nothing relevant to the investigation that we’re aware of. We’re just trying to figure out all the angles on this thing and what our responsibility is.”
An unidentified man claims he was raped at Barclay’s home on March 30. Barclay, a Republican, resigned his commissioner’s seat three days later and hasn’t spoken publicly since.
No charges have been filed against Barclay.
The new developments led police to secure a second search warrant to recover images from Barclay’s private computers. Trooper Karl Schmidhamer said police are pursuing evidence of invasion of privacy and prostitution.
The computer equipment was confiscated by police during an initial search of Barclay’s home on March 31.
Attorney: No proof on tape
In an affidavit of probable cause filed with Magisterial District Judge Susan Day, investigators identify a 20-year-old man as “R.H.,” who told police he had sex with Barclay March 30 in a bedroom where one of the hidden cameras was located. In addition, police say Barclay, 48, also had “consensual sex” that night with another 19-year-old man identified only as “W.H.”
Matthew Gover, Barclay’s attorney, said that tape exonerates his client on the rape accusation.
Reading a prepared statement, Gover said although he and Barclay do not agree with everything in the affidavit, “It is clear in my client’s private life he has made an error of judgment. What is striking is this very same lack of judgment exonerates him from a rape allegation that wasn’t going anywhere.”
Gover emphasized that Barclay’s misjudgment never extended into his role as a county commissioner, which he said Barclay “always handled with honor.”
Police say the sexual encounters were videotaped without the knowledge of the participants, according to court documents.
Schmidhamer said the state police are asking anyone who “feels they may have been a victim” of a criminal act inside Barclay’s home to call 1-866-898-8477. No charges have been filed against Barclay, he stressed.
‘Hiring of prostitutes’
According to court documents, Trooper Bryan R. Henneman said he “received information prior to the search warrant that Barclay had been involved in the hiring of prostitutes.”
During an interview with Barclay, Henneman said, he admitted to hiring prostitutes “on a weekly basis at his residence in Monroe (Township).”
The affidavit describes several such encounters with an Internet escort service known as “harrisburgfratboys.com.”
Court documents indicate Barclay twice flew “W.M.” to his West Palm Beach home. During a trip last month, “W.M” told investigators, Barclay flew a male prostitute from Binghamton, N.Y., and paid that man $1,500 for sex and compensation for time off work.
The affidavit describes a hidden camera network that included cameras hidden in a bathroom, bedrooms and “indoor recreational areas.” Cameras were hidden inside AM/FM radios, motion detectors and intercom speaker systems, court documents say.
During an interview, Henneman said, Barclay “admitted to using the cameras to record sexual encounters.” Police say Barclay saved between 100 and 500 encounters on his computer system.
According to court documents, “Barclay stated that no one else was aware of the hidden cameras and also that no one else was aware that the sexual encounters were videotaped or gave him permission to videotape the encounters.”
Police say “W.M.” told investigators he was aware of a camera in the indoor pool/hot tub area, but “had been advised by Barclay that the camera did not record because there was ‘stuff’ on there that he didn’t want to get out.”
Henneman said Barclay also admitted to having a camera installed at his business in the 500 block of North York Street in Mechanicsburg. According to court documents, Barclay told Henneman that one sexual encounter was filmed on that camera, which also fed into his home computer network.
Barclay told Henneman that “at least” five additional males were filmed having sex “who were unaware that they were being filmed.”
Nobody answered the door at Barclay’s residence Wednesday.
When informed of the new allegations, neighbor Gene Hertzler said he still stands behind the former county commissioner.
“My opinion of Bruce has not changed,” said Hertzler, who lives at 262 Brindle Road in Monroe Township.
He has been inside Barclay’s house several times, for Christmas and SuperBowl parties.
The other side of the story, he thinks, has not come out.
“I still think the community will respect him at the end of the day.”