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Authorities Investigate Whether Former Coach Videotaped Players At Salon

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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — The owner of a tanning salon where women were secretly videotaped has lost his high school coaching job. Investigators are looking into whether the coach used his connections and coupons to lure girls into the salon.

Bill Apple coached the girls' softball team at East Chapel Hill High School from fall 2000 until this week, when police raided his tanning salon in Hillsborough. Investigators found a VCR, 22 videotapes, and three cameras hidden in air purifiers inside the tanning booths.

The principal at East Chapel Hill told WRAL he searched the dugouts, storage rooms and a changing area for hidden cameras, but he did not find anything suspicious.

Parents say Apple encouraged the players to tan at his salon. He even ran coupons in student newspapers.

"My understanding is that ads and coupons were placed in the Orange High School newspaper," District Attorney Carl Fox said.

Apple was not home when WRAL tried to talk to him on Friday. His car, with an East Chapel Hill license plate holder, was in the driveway. Apple has previously denied knowledge of the tapes. Whoever is responsible faces misdemeanor charges of peeping, or felony charges if any of the victims are younger than 16.

"If the victims are 15 or younger, the charge would be taking indecent liberties with a child," Fox said.

The women who worked at the salon in exchange for free tanning have quit. A sign on the salon says it is closed, but it will re-open in a few weeks under new ownership.

Police say they plan to talk to members of the East Chapel Hill softball team as part of their investigation. No charges have been filed.


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