Secret tape of woman in bathroom recorded

After shower, camera found

man charged with wiretap violation

August 13, 1999|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,SUN STAFF

She showered at her parents' Edgewater home on June 19. She toweled off.

And she was videotaped.

Yesterday, Anne Arundel County prosecutors charged a longtime friend of the woman's family, Thomas P. Deibler, 34, of the 9100 block of Grant Ave. in the Howard County section of Laurel, with wiretap violation, obstruction of justice and telephone misuse.

Deibler -- who tiles bathrooms for a living -- surrendered and was in jail last night. A hearing on his $57,500 bond was set for today.

Although authorities found other photographs taken in bathrooms transferred from video onto Deibler's home computer, other charges seem unlikely, said Deputy State's Attorney William D. Roessler.

"There is no law for videotaping only," Roessler said. "Between now and Oct. 1 it is legal to hide video cameras in your friends' houses."

The law has lagged behind the technology, not only in Maryland, but around the country. Only a handful of states ban such video voyeurism.

Surreptitious audio taping is a felony in Maryland. In October, video voyeurism in another person's home or a private place will become a misdemeanor.

What allowed the Anne Arundel County state's attorney's office to press wiretap charges in the Edgewater videotaping was the sound on the tape, said David Cordle, chief investigator for county prosecutors.

"I feel very, very violated that someone did that to me and my nieces," said the 42-year-old victim.

The Sun is not identifying her because of the sexual nature of the crime.

Worse, she said, is that based on what they found in his computer, investigators suspect Deibler took similar videos of her niece four years ago in a bathroom in another county, entered a still photo from them in an Internet site contest and won a prize.

Cordle said two photos made from videos in Deibler's computer were of people who have not been identified.

Cordle said Deibler acknowledged one was a customer of his business, Performance Tile.

County police are still going through the computer, Cordle said.

The woman found wires leading to a small video recorder and a battery pack in her parents' bathroom, Cordle said. When she viewed the tape, the woman said, she was horrified and contacted county prosecutors.

During the investigation, Cordle received threatening voice mail, which Deibler is accused of leaving. In one, "you could hear the sound of what appeared to be a round being chambered into a firearm," Roessler said.

Several guns were found in a search of Deibler's property, Cordle said.

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