The landlord, Dennis Alan Van Dusen, a 63-year-old lawyer who holds graduate degrees from Harvard University, is also being sued by two of the women and one of their boyfriends, who accuse him of invasion of privacy. “My clients have been traumatized by this,” said Donna McBride, an attorney for a tenant and a boyfriend.
Van Dusen declined to comment. His attorney in the criminal matter, Samuel Delgado, stressed that Van Dusen is presumed innocent of the allegations against him. “I intend to look at all the evidence, pick it apart piece by piece, and hopefully vindicate him,” Delgado said.
A.P. Pishevar, an attorney for Van Dusen in the civil ligation, described his client as “a good man who has served his country as a retired Marine. These accusations are false and defamatory and will be challenged in a court of law.”
The case surfaced amid a string of reported cyber-peeping incidents and at a time when cameras are getting smaller, more powerful and less expensive.
“Manufacturing is up, prices are down and demand is growing,” said Michael Peros of bugged.com, which sells the devices. “It’s kind of like anything in life. It can be used in a good way, or it can be used in a bad way.”
Meanwhile, in Manassas
This month, a Manassas homeowner allegedly positioned a video camera about the size of a cellphone in his bathroom — specifically among a basket of toiletries — during a Super Bowl party, according to Prince William County police.
One of the guests discovered it, leading to charges of “unlawful filming of another” against Philip Caplinger, 46, police said. Caplinger declined to comment.
In Howard County, a man was charged after appearing in one of his own recordings, according to authorities.
Michael Stephen McKenny, 42, who is scheduled to go to trial May 7, allegedly broke into a condominium, hid a Recluse Black Box video camera and captured images of two women in various stages of undress, according to Howard County court records.
Police say McKenny slipped back into the condominium several times, changing the position of the camera to capture images in two bedrooms and at least one bathroom. Police tracked McKenny down after confiscating the camera, watching the video, and seeing several images of him positioning the device, according to authorities. McKenny’s attorney, David Zwanetz, declined to comment.
Today’s tiny video and audio recorders, which can be hidden in smoke alarms, clock radios and even calculators, can sell for as little as $49, plus about $35 for the memory card, Peros said. The devices, equipped with motion sensors and tiny batteries, can capture a week’s worth of video and audio. That kind of technology five years ago, he said, would have cost about $5,000. Ten years ago, the price would have exceeded $25,000.