Man is accused of taping employees in school bathroom

March 14, 2002|By Julie Bykowicz | Julie Bykowicz,SUN STAFF

A former maintenance technician at a special education school in North Laurel was accused Tuesday night of videotaping fellow employees while they used the bathroom.

Wade Carl Hoffarth, 37, of the 200 block of Beacon Mews Court in Westminster was charged with seven counts of video surveillance. Howard County police believe he made tapes between April and November 2001 at the Phillips School on Whiskey Bottom Road.

Hoffarth is the second person in Howard County to be charged under a 2 1/2 -year-old Maryland law that prohibits visual surveillance in a private place.

The law allows for the existence of a private place, such as a bathroom, in an otherwise public place, such as a school.

Hoffarth surrendered at the Southern District police station about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and was released on personal recognizance.

Howard police began investigating Hoffarth after a Phillips staff member found a videotape last week depicting a bird's-eye-view of five women and two men using a locked staff bathroom over an undetermined period at the school, police said.

The bathroom was inaccessible to the school's 155 students, police said. Phillips has a staff of about 100, according to a school official.

Hoffarth was identified as a suspect because the beginning of the videotape shows him adjusting the camera, according to the charging document.

If convicted, Hoffarth could be fined up to $1,000 and jailed for up to six months for each of the seven misdemeanor counts.

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