GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The man charged after his phone was found recording in the women's restroom of a Grand Rapids restaurant says he needs help.
"I'm not a monster, I'm not a horrible person," Brandyn Rosa told 24 Hour News 8 in an interview via video linkup from the Kent County jail. "I made a mistake. I know it's wrong."
The charges against Rosa, 20, include child abusive activity, capturing/distributing images of an unclothed person, possession of child pornography and a count of child sexually abusive commercial activity. He faces a sentence of up to life in prison if convicted.
In a roughly 20-minute conversation Thursday, Rosa seemed genuine as he answered 24 Hour News 8's questions. When asked if he thought that he was a danger to society, he replied, "No."
"I believe that I made a mistake and I need some help and I'm not getting that in here, and if I'm stuck in here and then get released, I won't be the same person that I am right now," he said. "And that, honest to God, scares me."
Rosa said he was previously in counseling.
"It was helping a lot," he said. "And then my dad canceled my insurance and I wasn't able to get any. I haven't been able to go back in almost two years."
Late last month, a 14-year-old girl using the bathroom at Penn Station East Coast Subs on 28th Street, where Rosa worked, noticed his smartphone set atop a light, its camera recording. She told her father, who called police, and Rosa was soon arrested. Police say their investigation following the discovery revealed Rosa also had a library of child porn.
"I had a stupid idea and I got caught. I wasn't trying to upload. It they were for my personal (use)," said Rosa.
The 14-year-old girl's went live on Facebook to make sure the case got attention. He was worried that there were more victims. But the Kent County Prosecutor's Office says the only images created with the phone was the video from Penn Station bathroom. The prosecutor's office says the child porn involving kids ages 2 to 7 was downloaded from the internet.
Rosa told 24 Hour News 8 that he kept his problem to himself.
"For obvious reasons, otherwise I would be here (in jail) a lot sooner," he said.
Rosa said he has been homeless on and off since he was 17. He declined to say whether he was abused as a child, saying that was between him and his counselor.
He said he is remorseful.
"I've thought about writing letters to the family that I impacted during the video, but I felt it would be better to try and do that in court or in person," he said.
Rosa pleaded not guilty to the Penn station charge. When asked why, he said that question could be answered by his lawyer.
"I just want to get the help I need and come back and be a contributing part of society," he said.
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