Steven Barrett's name is attached to too many projects around town to count.
For more than a decade he's been one of the longtime pillars holding up Cleveland's close-knit music and film scene: booking bands, piecing together compilation CDs, and photographing shows. Last month should have marked the impresario's latest brainchild: the ADD Short Film Festival, an all-day mash-up of film and live music penciled in for May 7 at the West Side rock club Now That's Class.
But instead of basking in the success of his latest endeavor, Barrett today is planning a legal defense. Cuyahoga County Prosecutors say Barrett, 33, was found in possession of child pornography and that he videotaped two unsuspecting female roommates while they showered. As a skeevy bonus, they claim, he then posted them on the internet.
Carly Krancevic says she was one of the subjects of Barrett's hidden camera. Despite having the particulars of her anatomy beamed to the darkest corners of the web, the red-headed 22-year-old is well-composed today as she unspools her experience in a Lakewood coffee shop.
"It's just hard when someone you trusted betrays you and your privacy, especially in such an intimate setting," she says. "Everyone showers."
Krancevic's stay with Barrett was one in a long series of stop-offs. She's lived the last couple years as a self-styled couch "gypsy," surfing the goodwill of friends and family from one address to another. The hopscotch eventually landed her on Barrett's Euclid doorstep in January.
By then, the two had been friends for a couple of years. They first met at a concert when the girl was 16. For about a year they swapped hi-how-are-yous online before hanging out in person. As the years clicked by, they began orbiting the same friend circle. When Krancevic needed a place this year, Barrett was quick with an offer to stay in one of his spare bedrooms, rent-free.
She says she was hesitant at first because Barrett had been "borderline creepy" in the past. Although they never tangled romantically, he paid her excessive attention and gave her over-the-top gifts. But those subtle hints of sketchiness didn't sway her to leave the offer on the table.
"I'm just really trusting and don't like to see the bad in people," she says. "I figured I'd give him the benefit of the doubt because he'd always been really nice to me and a good friend."
After moving in, the first few weeks went smoothly. But in time, Krancevic grew uncomfortable in her new digs. Barrett starting telling his roommate how attractive she was and asked personal questions about her sexual history. When she would clam up, he'd start tossing around graphic bedroom details about his own exes.
Then there was the shower. Days after moving in, Krancevic noticed the shower valve in the second-floor bathroom was missing, leaving a hole in the tile. Barrett said he was working on the plumbing. But the valve was never replaced.
Over time, Krancevic became aware of another Barrett oddity: Though he spent most of his time downstairs, he seemed to find his way to the second floor whenever she prepared to shower.
"At worst, I thought he was in his room thinking about what I was doing in the shower," she says.
The tension came to a head in March, when Krancevic needed directions to a doctor's appointment. Barrett was out, and her laptop wasn't connected to the internet, so she went down to the basement and fired up his computer. When she went to plug Yahoo into the address bar, she tapped "y," and up popped keywords from a recent website visit.
Krancevic doesn't recall the specific site, but it was porn — and the term "young" led the charge of other words you don't want to find on your roommate's browser. Shocked, the young woman bolted from the house, leaving her belongings — clothes, laptop, social security card — and never looking back.
A few days later, Krancevic figured she might have overreacted.
"I thought I probably just saw something and took it the wrong way, and now I'm this weirdo who's left my stuff at his place and not called him," she recalls thinking. Also weird: Barrett never called her either.
But in the first week of May, Krancevic was contacted by another woman she didn't know who moved into Barrett's Euclid home shortly after Krancevic made hasty tracks. The woman, who declined to be interviewed by Scene, told Krancevic she'd made a disturbing discovery of her own at the house.
According to police reports, the woman had also known Barrett for a number of years before moving into the home in April. She told police she immediately spotted the hole in the bathroom wall and, peering inside, saw "something shiny and reflective."
Every time she showered, she plugged the gap with a sponge. One day she went in and noticed the sponge had been removed. Later, she started the shower but didn't get in. As she waited, she heard Barrett come upstairs and remove a panel behind the wall. When he was gone, she snooped around, located the panel, and found a camera setup inside. She immediately moved out and located Barrett's previous tenant.
Even then, Krancevic juggled the possibilities in her mind.
"Honestly, I thought there had to be some logical explanation, and I was really reluctant to go to the police," she says. "I felt like maybe I would drag his name through the dirt. He was my friend and had opened up his home."
But, she adds: "Although it's shocking, he's not the last person on earth I would have thought would have done something like this."
Together, the women marched into the Euclid police station to share their discovery. On Friday, May 6, officers executed a search warrant at Barrett's home. His computers and equipment were reportedly seized, and he was interviewed by police at the station. The ADD Film Festival scheduled for the following day was postponed. According to a post on the event's Facebook page, the delay was the result of "a minor catastrophe" where "a lot of stuff for the film fest was lost."
After the search, Krancevic learned Barrett apparently hadn't kept the shower footage to himself, but uploaded it to porn sites for the pervert masses. Although the original videos were eventually taken down, the clip had already spread to other sites. Thanks to her defensive tactics, the second woman was apparently never caught on camera.
The police search of Barrett's property led to misdemeanor charges stemming from the shower cam, as well as a stash of child pornography — a felony offense. Reached at his home, Barrett declined to talk about the situation. His attorney, Eric Nemecek, tells Scene the defendant plans to enter a plea of not guilty to all charges. His arraignment is scheduled for July 5.
"At this point, it's just an allegation. Mr. Barrett is presumed innocent," Nemecek says. "He looks forward to addressing the matter in court."