Photographer arrest raises questions about would-be models' safety
A local photographer has been arrested, accused of drugging, then attacking a 16-year-old aspiring model.
Alan "Miles" Fork is in the Johnson County Jail, charged with five felonies, including sexual assault of the teen he was taking photos of in lingerie.
Fork used to operate Indy Premier Models out of a downtown Indianapolis office, and most recently out of his Greenwood apartment.
We did some checking and found Fork has no criminal history or complaints with the Better Business Bureau. But his arrest raises questions about people preying on young wanna-be models hoping to be the next big discovery.
Photographer and owner of Studio K Photography, Ken Kneringer, has seen a lot of young girls with big dreams of becoming a model.
But the president of the Professional Photographers Guild of Indiana also knows the risk of trusting the wrong person behind the camera.
"There is a potential, for some danger out there," Kneringer said.
Police say that's what happened inside a Greenwood apartment, off of Fry Road.
A 16-year-old girl went there for a modeling shoot with a photographer her mom says they trusted: 42-year-old Alan "Miles" Fork.
"He approached the victim and her mother, saying there was a company out of Chicago that was interested in the photographs of her, kind of selling them that this would be good for her modeling career. The victim's mother couldn't go. He didn't want anybody else there. He came and picked her up so he had her alone," explained Greenwood Assistant Police Chief Matthew Fillenwarth.
The victim's mother tells Eyewitness News she trusted him, knew him for a year, but didn't know he got her daughter alone that day.
When the teen got nervous about modeling lingerie, police say Fork gave her alcohol and Adderall to calm her down.
Then they say he videotaped himself sexually assaulting her when she passed out.
Police fear there may be more potential victims.
"These are young girls. They want to be models and you know, they want to be famous," Fillenwarth said. "He's good at selling that and preying on their dreams."
Experts warn there's a new danger too: photographers using the internet to prey on pretty girls and promise the world - some with ulterior motives.
Some websites that pair models with photographers allow aspiring models to upload their own photos, without parental consent or age restriction.
"There's a lot of danger out there. A 14-year-old girl can put her photos out there, without her parents' permission and become mixed up in that world," Kneringer explained. "It's highly unregulated and if you're doing this without your parents' input, be very, very, very careful. Moms need to know this stuff can happen behind the scenes without their knowledge very, very easily."
Kneringer says legitimate photographers never take pictures that make teens uncomfortable, teen models never have to wear lingerie, and that studios always let Mom in on every shoot.
In fact, at Kneringer's studio, they built a specific place for parents to sit and watch what happens behind the lens.
"They're always in the studio at the same time with us," he said.
Kneringer recommends doing extensive research on any photographer and getting multiple references, to make sure a dream doesn't turn dangerous.
"Check them out. I mean literally go to people, talk to clients, make sure they've got some kind of references on the website and then talk to other clients if you're nervous. You know, say 'can I talk to somebody that's been here'. We often hear quote - professional photographer - and that's not always the case."