from the Morning Sentinel
FARMINGDALE -- State and federal authorities arrested a Farmingdale man Thursday on charges of violating the privacy of his family members by videotaping them without their knowlege while they were using the toilet.John Harrison, 50, was taken to Kennebec County jail and charged with two misdemeanors: violation of privacy and possession of sexually explicit materials. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 364 days in jail.
Maine State Police began investigating Harrison earlier this week when a motorist with a wireless video monitor in his vehicle drove through Farmingdale and saw an apparently live broadcast of a person using a toilet. The motorist reported the incident to state police.
Armed with a similar monitor, police cruised Maine Avenue, catching glimpses being broadcast from the inside of a home and pinpointing the address.
They first talked to Harrison on Tuesday, who told them he had been using wireless cameras to record bathroom use, and that his family, including children who range in age from 9 to adult, were unaware of the recordings.
Harrison's wife, contacted at work, told police she knew there was a camera in the bathroom but didn't know it was recording.
"Mr. Harrison showed me two VCRs in two rooms with two separate receivers for the cameras," wrote Detective Sgt. Glenn Lang of the Maine State Police in an affidavit submitted to obtain a search warrant. "Mr. Harrison said the cameras were being recorded all day to the VCRs. He said he had recorded videos of his family members in the bathroom, but would fast forward through that section of the videotapes."
Harrison told police he also had a camera in the bedroom. It was unclear whose bedroom he was referring to.
A day later, police searched the property, seizing computer equipment, digital cameras, computer records, and other items.
"We have a mountain of material to go through," Lang said.
Lang, who is supervisor of the computer crimes unit, said the case is particularly unusual.
"We've had some people tell us while they've been driving down the road, they have seen images from inside a bathroom," he said. "And we've had people record their kids in the bathroom, but we've never had a combination of both." He said the wireless transmitter sent the images outside.
"(Harrison) didn't have any idea it had the range it has," Lang said.
Lang said the investigation was done in cooperation with the Secret Service, and agent Manning Jetted was at the scene Thursday when Harrison was arrested.
State charges have been filed, and federal charges could be filed, Lang said.
He also said investigators called the Department of Health and Human Services because of the children in the home. The children were still in the home on Thursday, Lang said.
District Attorney Evert Fowle said his office requested bail be set at $25,000 worth of property or $12,500 in cash.
If Harrison is released on bail, he is banned from possession of sexually explicit materials and from contact with anyone on the tapes.
Lang said the investigation is continuing.