By James Beaty
A former U.S. Naval civilian employee placed on administrative leave with pay at the McAlester Army Ammunition Plant last August is the same individual charged in federal court this week with three counts of video voyeurism, the News-Capital has learned.
Kenneth Wade Elkins, 55, of McAlester, is also charged at the state level in Pittsburg County District Court with two felony counts of recording/transmitting obscenities and two misdemeanor counts of “using electronic equipment in a clandestine manner.”
The federal charges are related to a hidden video camera found in a ladies restroom at McAAP that allegedly recorded females using the facility between July 1 and Aug., 24, 2013 . Elkins allegedly installed the camera and used it to “capture an image of the private area of three separate female victims while they were using the restroom,” according to allegations in a statement from federal prosecutors.
Also, the News-Capital has learned that Elkins was the supervisor in the building where the recordings allegedly occurred.
The News-Capital reported in October about a federal investigation under way at McAAP, although federal personnel would not reveal any details of the probe nor the name of the target of the investigation.
On Wednesday, a Navy spokesperson confirmed that the man placed on administrative leave in August is the same man charged Wednesday in the federal case.
The News-Capital contacted the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indian Head Maryland, the higher headquarters of the Naval facility at McAAP, officially known as the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, McAlester detachment.
“I can confirm Mr. Elkins is a former employee and has since retired,” said Indian Head spokesperson Becky D’Ambrosio.
Elkins had been placed on administrative leave with pay when the investigation began, she said Thursday.
Asked about Elkins’’ duties at the Naval facility on the McAAP grounds, D’Ambrosio said “He was the division director of the McAlester detachment. He was the supervisor for the entire division.”
The division has 21 civilian employees and three contractors, according to D’Ambrosio.
She also confirmed the reason for the personnel action the Navy took.
“He was placed on administrative leave pending the FBI investigation,” D’Ambrosio said. Elkins later retired, she said.
Asked if Elkins is still allowed on the McAAP grounds, D’Ambrosio said “He was barred from re-entering the base.” Although Elkins continued to get paid during the time he was on administrative leave, D’Ambrosio said “He was not to report to work.”
Steps were taken to make sure Elkins stayed off the base, according to D’Ambrosio.
“They removed his badge,” she said.
The U.S. Naval detachment at McAAP performs several duties.
“Specifically, at that detachment they repair, refurbish and store missile components and gear for the U.S. Navy,” D’Ambrosio said. Employees also produce and distribute ordnance publications.
Asked if the Navy is doing anything for the three female victims who were allegedly recorded with the hidden camera, D’Ambrosio said “All federal employees are offered counseling through a federal assistance program.” However, she said she could not say whether any of the women involved had asked for or received counseling because of the alleged recordings.
Elkins has pleaded innocent to state charges and is due back in court Dec. 20. He is facing a Jan 15 arraignment on the federal charges,
Elkins could not be reached for comment as this article was being prepared for publication and court documents did not list an attorney of record for him. He remains free on $50,000 bond.
Federal charges against Elkins were filed by the U.S. attorney’s office at the Eastern District of Oklahoma U.S. Courthouse in Muskogee, following the FBI investigation. The FBI handled the investigation because McAAP is on federal property.
The three federal charges tied to the McAAP case are all misdemeanors, punishable by not more than a year in prison and/or a fine of up to $1,000, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
State charges filed by District 18 District Attorney Farley Ward’s office resulted from an investigation by the FBI and the McAlester Police Department, according to federal officials and McAlester Police Det. Sgt. Chris Morris.
Elkins “allegedly captured and downloaded on a computer images of child pornography and also allegedly used electronic surveillance equipment in a residence in McAlester to capture an image of the private area of the persons in the residence,” according to information from the U.S. attorney’s office.
Conviction of the two state felony charges of recording/ transmitting an obscenity is punishable by not less than 30 days nor more than 10 years in prison, a fine of up to $20,000 or both.
The misdemeanor state charges of using electronic equipment in a clandestine manner are punishable by not more than a year in prison, a fine of up to $5,000, or both.
Contact James Beaty at email@example.com.