LACEY, Wash. - The moves and the music on the gym floor distracted those in the bleachers from immediately seeing what was happening right in front of their eyes.
Some members of Elma's winter dance team were watching from the bleachers when they noticed a strange man watching them.
They say the clean cut man had several cameras, but he reportedly tucked one camera backwards under his arm and shot up under the dancers' skirts. The girls told their fathers.
"I said, 'Hey pal. What's your story?'" said dad Erick Johanson. "'What are you doing here with the camera? People downstairs are saying you're doing some pretty bad things.'"
The photographer claimed he was a sports photographer from a university, and he tried to leave. But the fathers followed him out into the parking lot.
"'How about this, you show us the pictures on the camera and when what you're saying is true, there's nothing weird, you can go and we'll apologize and it's no big deal,'" said dad Josh Nelson. " He's like, 'No, I can't show you my pictures.'"
They say then, in a last ditch effort to escape, the suspect surprisingly confessed.
"He took the camera off his neck, held his hands up in the air and said 'I admit it. I'm a pervert and I came here to take pictures of your daughters,'" said Johanson.
"He said, 'Can you let go of me?' I said no, I'm not going to let you go,'" said Nelson. "He said, 'Can't I have some dignity?' No, you can't have any dignity. I said I'm going to hold onto you until the cops get here and then they'll hold onto you.'"
Thinking back, the fathers are sick to think where the photos may have ended up.
"You always want to take care of your kids, and protect them," said Nelson.
"That's our job, that's what we're supposed to do," said Johanson.
Even though they feel violated, the dancers are proud their fathers stood up to defend them.
Olympia Police say the total number of pictures on the suspects' cameras is unknown. They also do not know if this same photographer is suspected for other voyeurism crimes.
The suspect is held in the Thurston County jail for investigation of voyeurism.