Lecturer hid camera to film stepdaughters

Last updated 18:47 08/04/2014

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A lecturer at an Auckland-based university will lose his job after admitting setting up a hidden camera to spy on his teenage stepdaughters in the bathroom.

The man in his 40s – who was given permanent name suppression to protect the victims – was today sentenced to six months' home detention and 250 hours' community work.

He had previously pleaded guilty in the Waitakere District Court to three charges of making an intimate visual recording and one of attempting to do so.

A police forensic examination of the camera he used recovered more than 200 images of his stepdaughters, most of which captured them naked in the bathroom.

The man had been a university lecturer and his lawyer, Bridie Murphy, said he had not yet told his bosses at the university about the charges.

The offender, who had been in a de facto relationship with the victims' mother for several years, was also a volunteer at an organisation where he had "contributed to saving many lives", Murphy said.

He would have to tell both about his convictions and he would be forced to stand down from both roles.

Murphy said he would also no longer be able to coach sports teams as he had in the past.

Dressed all in black in the dock, the offender heard Judge John Bergseng recount his "premeditated" actions, which were repeated throughout last year.

The former lecturer hid the digital camera inside a dressing gown hung in the bathroom where it would take photos of the girls in the shower.

He would later remove the memory card, transfer the images and replace the camera.

It was only after he moved the camera that he was caught.

To get a different view, the former lecturer repositioned the camera on a shelf, partially obscured by some toilet rolls, but one of the girls found it on December 13.

Initially he tried to convince police he was "being a bit voyeurish" trying to photograph his wife naked.

However, after police told him about the hundreds of recovered images, he admitted it had been set up solely to snap the teens.

Murphy argued the man deserved to be discharged without conviction, citing his efforts at rehabilitation since admitting the acts.

She also told the court the victims' mother had accompanied him to the counselling sessions as a support person.

But the judge said the crimes could "only be described as a gross breach of trust" and a discharge would be inappropriate.

"They never expected you to view them as anything more than a stepdaughter, certainly not in a sexual way," he said.

While on home detention, the man will not be allowed to spend time with anyone under 16 unless in the company of an approved adult.

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