Prison for jealous Yorkana man who secretly taped girlfriend
A jealous Yorkana man who wanted to spy on his live-in girlfriend must serve prison time for hiding a tape recorder and video camera in the home they shared.
Todd W. Fitz, 54, of Main Street, appeared in York County Court on Tuesday, Feb. 26, where he was sentenced to nine to 23 months in York County Prison followed by two years of probation, according to court records.
Fitz pleaded guilty Jan. 7 to both third-degree felony counts against him — intercepting oral communications and possessing interception devices. It was an open plea, meaning there was no negotiated plea agreement, court records state.
After imposing prison time Tuesday, presiding Common Pleas Judge Maria Musti Cook forbade Fitz from having any contact with his former girlfriend and directed him to report to prison on March 22, records state.
Defense attorney Seamus Dubbs said Fitz didn't realize at the time that what he was doing was illegal and thought it was no different from "nanny cams" that some parents use to monitor baby sitters in their homes.
But Pennsylvania law states that Fitz's victim had an expectation of privacy, since she also lived there. Also, it's illegal in Pennsylvania to record someone without their knowledge and permission.
Since being charged, Fitz "has definitely acknowledged it was criminal, and he feels sorry for the pain and anguish it's caused (his ex)," Dubbs said.
The background: State troopers began investigating after being called to Fitz's home on Sept. 17, 2017, for a domestic dispute.
After speaking with Fitz and his girlfriend, troopers determined the dispute was over the woman discovering Fitz was secretly audiotaping and videotaping her, police said.
The woman, whose name is being withheld by The York Dispatch, told troopers she found a tape recorder hidden behind a sofa cushion in their living room.
She said she also found a video camera stashed below their television on a TV stand, documents state.
The woman explained she saw something "shining brightly" in her direction, which drew her attention to lights on the camera, police said.
She told troopers she didn't give Fitz permission to record her with video- or audio-recording devices, according to charging documents.
Suspicious mind: Fitz told troopers he suspected his girlfriend had been cheating on him, in part because she came home from work "all dressed up" about two weeks earlier and because on a couple of mornings her phone wasn't in the same place it had been when he'd gone to sleep the night before, documents state.
Troopers said the woman told them she tried to convince Fitz she wasn't cheating.
Fitz said he already owned a video recorder but bought more recording equipment, then placed the recording equipment in the living room "because he felt she wasn't telling the truth," court documents state.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.