A longtime Fort Lauderdale fencing instructor has been stripped of his membership in USA Fencing by its governing body, the U.S. Center for Safesport, after he was arrested and charged with video voyeurism and tampering with evidence.
Fort Lauderdale detectives arrested Daniel Berliner on Wednesday after they say he secretly recorded a girl using the bathroom and changing her clothes at the gym he runs, Duellife Olympic Fencing Center, on March 14.
According to the police, Berliner’s ex-girlfriend, who still shared an Oakland Park apartment with him, found the video on his iPhone after she scrolled through its photos and videos and found a file marked “hidden,” WLPG Local 10 reported.
The video, an arrest report says, allegedly shows a girl using a toilet and changing clothes. The clip then depicts Berliner entering the bathroom after she leaves, retrieving the camera from the ceiling, and then repositioning the camera over the toilet, police say.
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The ex alerted police after telling him she’d found the video, police said. Berliner, 27, allegedly begged that she not contact authorities and had not previously recorded the girl.
Berliner allegedly went to his father’s house, where Fort Lauderdale detectives found a damaged iPhone in Berliner’s pants pocket.
Berliner’s attorney, David Bogenschutz, argued in bond court that his client is “one of the preeminent fencing coaches in the United States,” and that he coaches all ages and should not be considered 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,” Bogenschutz told Broward County Judge Kim Theresa Mollica.
Bogenschutz argued against the state’s suggested $50,000 bond for the video voyeurism charge and the order that Berliner have no contact with minors, noting that the instructor’s business is built on coaching students.
Mollica reduced the bond on the first count to $25,000 and ordered $1,000 bond on the phone tampering charge. But she also ordered that Berliner cannot have contact with minors or possess recording devices until the court rules otherwise.
On Thursday, in stripping his membership, the U.S. Center for Safesport said Berliner cannot participate in any activity or competition run by USA Fencing and the United States Olympic Committee, the national organizations recognized by the United States Olympic Committee, pending the outcome of the case.