Glen Rock man guilty of secretly taping victims with hidden cameras
A Glen Rock man is guilty of using hidden cameras to secretly take thousands of photographs and videos of adults and children in his home and other locations — including in bathrooms and bedrooms, and at his job.
At the close of a 15-minute stipulated bench trial in York County Court on Tuesday, April 3, Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook convicted Ian Christopher Anderson of numerous counts of invasion of privacy, child pornography and having images or video depicting children involved in sexual acts.
The judge also found him guilty of being a convicted felon in illegal possession of a firearm.
Anderson, 30, of Lewis Drive, remains free on his own recognizance pending his sentencing hearing, scheduled for July 6, according to court records. He is facing state prison time, prosecutors said.
The gun-possession charge has a minimum standard guideline range of four years, according to prosecutors.
A bench trial is a nonjury trial in which a county judge determines guilt or innocence. The fact that it was stipulated means the defense didn't contest any facts or present any evidence.
Attorney Jay Whittle, who jointly represents Anderson with law partner Ron Gross, said that's because their defense strategy isn't about proving Anderson is innocent.
They're arguing that all the physical evidence obtained by police was seized illegally, without a search warrant, Whittle said, adding that is once again an argument for the state Superior Court.
Suppression issue: In February 2017, Judge Cook granted a defense motion to suppress most of the physical evidence, agreeing it was illegally obtained. She then dismissed the bulk of the charges against Anderson, according to court records.
Police and prosecutors maintain Anderson gave police permission to search without a warrant.
"He was on the floor, in handcuffs, with armed police officers saying they wanted to see what he had," Whittle said. "Put yourself in his position. He didn't feel he had any authority to deny them access to anything."
Whittle said the decision was made to bypass a full trial and instead relitigate the evidence-suppression issue with the Superior Court.
That could take a year or more, he said, adding he and Gross will ask that Anderson be allowed to remain free on bail pending the appeal.
Prosecutors appealed Cook's February 2017 ruling to the state Superior Court, which in February of this year reinstated the charges.
"At that point (the defense) understood they really didn't have a defense anymore," deputy prosecutor Alissa Cardenas told The York Dispatch.
The bench trial preserved Anderson's right to appeal the Superior Court's ruling, senior deputy prosecutor Kara Bowser said. She and Cardenas handled the case together.
The background: Cardenas said police identified nine separate victims who were secretly, and repeatedly, photographed and videotaped by Anderson between 2011 and 2014.
At least four of those victims were under the age of 18, she said.
Court documents indicate Anderson hid spy cameras in his bathroom and bedroom as well as in the bathrooms of two acquaintances' homes and in the bedroom of one of those people's homes. Both the acquaintances lived in Hopewell Township at the time.
Southern Regional Police Detective William Shafer II originally filed a total of 442 criminal charges against Anderson, which included numerous counts of invasion of privacy and possessing child pornography.
The charges were later reduced to fewer all-encompassing counts, according to Bowser and Cardenas.
On Tuesday, Judge Cook found Anderson guilty of 17 counts of invasion of privacy, nine counts of sexual abuse of children for photographing/filming/depicting children in sexual acts, four counts of possessing child pornography, three counts of using a computer to commit the illegal acts, being a felon in illegal firearm possession and possession of a small amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to court records.
About the videos: Court documents state there were perhaps thousands of secretly recorded images of adults and children using the bathroom, showering, bathing — even having sex.
Anderson told police he recorded the images so he could watch them later while masturbating, documents state.
The hidden cameras and subsequent videos and photos came to light July 9, 2014, when probation officers conducted an unannounced visit to Anderson's home, according to police.
They found a loaded .22-caliber rifle, some marijuana and smoking materials, and they also found child porn on his computer, documents state. The probation officers then called Southern Regional Police to the scene.
Bowser and Cardenas said Anderson is facing years in state prison.
Adams County case: Anderson also was found guilty of secretly recording people with cameras he hid at an Adams County location. He was convicted there in July of four counts of invasion of privacy and sentenced to six to 23 months in prison, court records state.
However, his Adams County prison sentence was stayed because he's also appealing that case to Superior Court, according to court records.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.