Fort Lauderdale fencing instructor accused of secretly recording girl in bathroom

Video showed girl using toilet, changing clothes, police say

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Fort Lauderdale fencing instructor was arrested Wednesday for secretly recording a girl using the bathroom at his gym, authorities said.

According to an arrest report, Daniel Berliner's ex-girlfriend contacted police after she went through his old iPhone and found inappropriate videos and pictures of a girl she recognized from Berliner's gym.

Police said the former couple broke up in January, but still resided together.

According to the report, Berliner's ex-girlfriend was scrolling through videos and pictures on the phone when she found a video in a file called "hidden." The video allegedly showed a girl using the toilet and changing clothes at Berliner's business, Duellife Olympic Fencing Center.

The video was taken March 14, authorities said.

Police said the video shows Berliner, 27, entering the bathroom after the girl leaves, removing the camera from the ceiling, looking into the camera and then positioning the camera in the back corner of the bathroom over the toilet.

The camera view appeared to be hidden, authorities said.

Police said Berliner's ex-girlfriend was sending the video to herself via Whatsapp when she received a phone call from Berliner.

The woman told the fencing coach she had found a video from the bathroom of his gym, authorities said. The woman told police that Berliner initially denied knowing about the video, but then started crying and claimed that it was the first time that he had recorded the girl and that it was the only video he had.

The woman told detectives that Berliner confessed to masturbating to the video, but later told her that he only told her that because he thought it was what she wanted to hear.

According to the arrest report, Berliner went home and begged on his knees for his ex-girlfriend not to contact the police.

She told him she needed to protect the children, authorities said.

According to the woman, Berliner is known to go out of town with his athletes to attend matches and sometimes travels alone with them when their parents cannot attend matches. 

Police said Berliner gathered his personal items, including his laptops and three cellphones before leaving their apartment in Oakland Park.

The woman told police that Berliner told her he was going to kill himself when he left.

Authorities contacted the victim, who said she was unaware that Berliner had been recording her in the bathroom.

Police said Berliner was seen by detectives outside his father's house, where a woman was seen taking duffel bags from the home and placing them in Berliner's BMW.

Police said the bags were later moved to his father's Corvette.

Detectives pulled over the father and son a short time after they left the home.

Police said a damaged iPhone was found in Berliner's front right pants pocket. The top of the phone was reportedly smashed and pulled apart and the SD portal appeared to be tampered with. Police said the SD was also missing.

Berliner was taken into custody, but declined to speak with detectives without an attorney present, the report said.

He faces charges of video voyeurism and tampering or destroying evidence.

Berliner's attorney argued in bond court that his client is not a threat to children.

"I think there are extenuating circumstances with respect to why the phone was in the bathroom and it had to do with the reporter -- the individual who was his ex-girlfriend," the attorney told Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica. 

The attorney also praised his client's career, saying Berliner is "probably one of the preeminent fencing coaches in the United States," coaching not only children but also athletes who are in training for Olympic teams. 


About the Authors: