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Palm Beach Post (Florida)
By Daphne Duret Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

A former Boca Raton Parks and Recreation worker was sentenced to 10 years in prison and another five years on sex offender probation for using his iPhone to video women and girls as they used park restrooms.

The sentence Tuesday came at the end of a trial for Douglas Hughes in which Circuit Judge Richard Burton acted as both judge and jury. Hughes, 28, had previously pleaded guilty to five video voyeurism charges in the cases involving the adults he filmed while employed as a Boca groundskeeper in 2012, but he decided to go to trial on five additional charges involving children.

Hughes' attorney Jim Eisenberg argued claims on his behalf that he meant to video only the adults using the restrooms and the children -- youth softball players attending tournaments with their parents -- were unintended targets.

Police arrested Hughes in August 2012 after a mother called police to say she caught someone recording her and her daughter as she changed clothes inside a restroom at Red Reef Park. According to arrest reports, Hughes told investigators he had been videotaping women and children in women's restrooms at Red Reef Park and Patch Reef Park up to 30 times since March or April of that year.

Assistant State Attorney Reid Scott said that although investigators found more than 10 video files from Hughes' phones, they couldn't identify all of Hughes' victims.

Scott said Boca Raton Police Detective Ron Melo was able to use softball team rosters to locate victims whose jerseys were visible.

Though Hughes was originally charged with 11 counts of video voyeurism, Scott said prosecutors were forced to drop one of the charges after they couldn't positively identify the victim.

Scott, who had recommended at 10-year prison sentence and a 10-year probation sentence for Hughes, said some of the parents told their children that they had been recorded, while others decided against it.

"They all felt violated," Scott said. "When you think that you're just going out to a youth function, you're not expecting this type of thing to happen."

At the time of his arrest, Hughes had been working for less than a year as a groundskeeper for the city of Boca Raton. He was fired immediately after his arrest.

dduret@pbpost.com

 

March 12, 2014

 

 
 

 

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