Former Yuma ballet dancer offered plea agreement
The professional dancer facing charges for allegedly secretly videotaping victims with a hidden camera while they were undressing, including at least three instances in Yuma while he was a guest artist in community performances, has been offered a plea agreement and will consider it over the next few weeks.
During a brief hearing in Yuma County Superior Court on Friday before Presiding Superior Court Judge John Nelson, prosecutor James Eustace of the Yuma County Attorney's Office said that a plea agreement has been offered in the case and asked the court to set a change of plea hearing for sometime next month.
When asked if they had received a copy of the plea agreement, attorney Michael Donovan, who represents Bryan Cheuk Mun Wong, said they had not because he and the prosecution were still finalizing some of the details.
Wong, a former Yuma resident, is facing multiple charges of exploitation of a minor and over 100 charges of surreptitious videotaping and voyeurism. He is currently being held in the Yuma County jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond.
Nelson set Wong's change of plea hearing for 8:30 a.m. May 17. A time for sentencing will also be set during the hearing. No details about the plea agreement were discussed because it has not been accepted before the court yet.
Wong was arrested in October 2012 at his home in Green Valley, Ariz., by the Yuma Police Department and the Yuma and Tucson offices of the U.S. Marshals Service after a nearly monthlong investigation.
According to Yuma police, 34 female and male victims have been identified, ranging in age from 6 to 41 years old. Video footage of the victims were found on Wong's camera.
Yuma police began an investigation into allegations against Wong on Sept. 20 after being informed by the University of Arizona Police Department that they had arrested him for secretly videotaping university dance students using a hidden camera.
During Wong's interview with university police, he told them he had also secretly videotaped victims in various stages of dress at three locations in Yuma: at the Yuma Ballet Academy in November 2010, during a dance performance of “Sleeping Beauty” at the Historic Yuma Theatre in 2011 and during 2011's performance of “The Nutcracker” at Snider Auditorium.
Wong graduated from the University of Arizona School of Dance with a bachelor's degree.
Born and raised in Yuma, Wong worked as a freelance professional dancer with dance companies. He also occasionally danced at the UA and collaborated with other dance companies and studios in the area.
James Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6854. Find him on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/YSJamesGilbert or on Twitter @YSJamesGilbert.