A San Diego man accused of taking up-skirt photos of women has now been charged with possession of child pornography after police discovered sexually-explicit photos of kids on his cellphone, many of them clients at a day care operated by his ex-wife, police said Thursday
Escondido Police arrested Abdullah Sediqi, 64, Wednesday on suspicion of possessing child pornography and other sex crimes against children. He faces 31 counts, including lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and disorderly conduct.
Police said Sediqi was first arrested on June 13 after a woman shopping at the Valley Thrift Store on East Valley Parkway in Escondido noticed the suspect crouched down closely behind her with his cellphone in hand.
The woman moved away from him and then saw Sediqi approach another woman shopping at the store. Sediqi then allegedly crouched down low to take a photograph under the woman’s clothing, police said.
The witness called police and officers arrived at the store to speak with the suspect.
Officers discovered Sediqi had used his phone to snap several photos underneath the clothing of unsuspecting women in the store, two of whom were minors. The up-skirt images were taken from at least two separate locations, police said.
Sediqi was arrested at the scene and booked in the Vista Detention Facility. He posted bail and was released.
As part of the investigation, police said Sediqi’s phone was forensically analyzed by an Escondido Police detective with the San Diego Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
The detective found that Sediqi’s phone contained more than 6,000 photographs, and while most were innocuous, they found more than up-skirt shots. Many of the pictures were “very graphic and disturbing,” images of children, Carter said during a news conference Thursday morning. Some of the girls in the photos appeared to be as young as three to five years old.
Further investigation revealed that many of the children in those inappropriate photographs were kids that attend Kid’s Castle Day Care on Matinal Road, a Rancho Bernardo business owned and operated by Sediqi’s ex-wife, Katrien Sediqi. The day care also goes by the name of Sediqi Family Day Care, and Sediqi was living in the house, according to police.
"This is very devastating. This is a very sick individual," said Escondido Police Chief Craig Carter. "This is something that I need the parents that were in this day care from 2013 to present to come forward."
Based on these new charges of possession of child pornography, police arrested Sediqi again within 24 hours of his up-skirt arrest.
He is currently being held without bail on dozens of charges and is scheduled to appear in court Friday.
The EPD said detectives served a search warrant on the Sediqi home and day care facility and seized all records of current clients of the business. More phones, computers and external hard drives were also taken from the home by investigators.
During the search, investigators said they also found nearly 14 grams of cocaine inside the home belonging to the suspect’s adult son, Roin Mohammad Sediqi, 26. Roin was arrested for possession of a controlled substance, police said.
The police department said officers contacted the parents of every child who is a current client of Kid’s Castle Day Care and alerted them of Sediqi’s arrest.
"The reactions, as you could imagine, are shock, " said Carter. "They say that they trusted this family, and even Mr. Sediqi said himself that, 'We really appreciate you the parents, and I would do anything for you or your children.'"
Police have also notified the Community Care Licensing Division of the California Department of Social Services, which is responsible for the issuance and revocation of state licenses to day care facilities.
The EPD said the investigation on this case is ongoing. It's unclear if Sediqi has obtained an attorney.
San Diego court records show Sediqi and his ex-wife filed for divorce in June 2010.
Anyone who is a current or former client of the day care who is concerned their child may have been victimized by Sediqi should contact detectives at the police department at (760) 839-4926.