Indictment says Laurel police officer hid camera in teen's bedroom

Edward Charles Schmitt indicted on sexual abuse, surveillance charges

August 06, 2010|By Larry Carson, The Baltimore Sun

A Laurel city police corporal was indicted in Howard County this week on charges that he secretly took video of his girlfriend's teenage daughter using a camera he had hidden in her bedroom closet.

Edward Charles Schmitt, 37, of North Laurel, Howard County, is charged with one count of sexual abuse of a minor, two counts of visual surveillance and one count of camera surveillance. According to charging documents, he had hidden a video camera and photographed himself performing a lewd act, and also captured images of the girl from August 2009 until Feb. 28. He was prohibited from making any contact with the victim in the case. The Baltimore Sun does not identify victims of sexual crimes.

Laurel city police issued a statement Friday that said Schmitt had been suspended and his police powers revoked since at least May 21, when Howard police began investigating the case.

Police chief David Crawford said in the statement that the department is cooperating with Howard authorities, and added that Schmitt might face further disciplinary actions after his department conducts an internal investigation.

Schmitt was first charged in District Court but the Howard grand jury added more charges and returned indictments Wednesday.

According to charging documents detailing the investigation, Schmitt's 44-year-old girlfriend reported to Laurel police last winter that she found a video card in their bedroom and viewed it on her computer. It allegedly showed Schmitt setting up a video camera in her 15-year-old daughter's bedroom closet and also included pictures of him standing naked and alone performing a lewd act in that room.

She told Howard County police detective Denise Francis that Schmitt is addicted to pornography and that she had frequently found pornography on his computer. She said she confronted him about the taping, and he had apologized and said he would get help. She turned the video card, which also allegedly shows her daughter changing clothes, over to police.

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