Former WSU principal charged with child sexual exploitation, invasion of privacy

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – A former Wichita State University principal is accused of placing a hidden camera in a bedroom of his apartment and secretly recording a minor girl. The case was investigated by the Exploited and Missing Children Unit (EMCU) – the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

Christopher Garnier is charged with six counts of invasion of privacy and six counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

According to the probable cause affidavit, Garnier’s wife contacted police after finding that Garnier had ordered a “hidden camera alarm clock.” She lives in California and he lives in Wichita. She contacted the girl, who lives with Garnier, and asked her if the alarm clock was in her room. The girl sent back a photo of the alarm clock.

While Garnier was in California visiting his wife, she told detectives he searched her phone and found seven videos showing the girl naked in her bedroom, undressing and changing clothes.

On May 2, EMCU detectives located Garnier at Wichita State University where he was working. They arrested him on a traffic warrant and took him in to be interviewed about the hidden camera and videos.

During the interview, Garnier told detectives he purchased the camera because the girl “had a lot of problems over the years.” He said he and his wife talked about getting a video camera, but he said he never told his wife that he started recording the girl and that some of the recordings showed the girl naked.

Garnier lives on the 7th floor of his downtown Wichita apartment building. Detectives said that since it was unlikely the girl would sneak out her bedroom window, they wanted to know why Garnier didn’t tap the front door to see if she was sneaking in or out.

“Christopher went on to say, ‘She locks herself in her room for hours.’ When asked if Christopher had the bedroom key, he said, “It’s not so much a key situation.” Christopher further explained that he simply does not go into the bedroom …,” the affidavit states.

Garnier told detectives he was not sexually attracted to the girl, nor did he keep the videos for sexual gratification.

“No. Never,” the affidavit reads. “I’m offended by that. No.”

The same day Garnier was brought in for questioning, detectives obtained a search warrant to seize his personal laptop, a work computer and a tablet, all of which were at WSU. On May 3, Garnier provided detectives with the passwords to access and review. While executing a search warrant for his phone, detectives found the hidden camera app and seven video files that showed the girl on her camera undressing and sometimes nude.

Invasion of privacy charges were filed against Garnier on May 14. On May 29, those charges were amended to include sexual exploitation. He was arrested in early May but has since been released from prison.

Garnier was named director of the Executive Education and Center for Management Development by the WSU Barton School in June 2023. The university said he is no longer employed as of May 10, 2024.