With video recorders so widely available — on phones, on computer tablets, on tiny cameras — police are seeing a spate of cyber-peeping cases.
But that same availability of cameras, according to Montgomery County police allegations made public Wednesday, produced an odd twist: The victim recorded the peeper.
Darrien Lamont Tucker, 39, of Potomac was charged with five counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent, officials said, accusing him of using an Apple iPad to take inappropriate videos of an 18-year-old foreign-exchange student who was staying in his home. Tucker thought he was doing so furtively, by sliding an edge of the iPad under a bathroom door, according to charging documents.
But the victim noticed the iPad, took images of it with her iPhone and eventually set up a video camera outside the bathroom that captured Tucker crouching on the ground outside the door, trying to make another video, detectives alleged.
At the time, Tucker was a physical education teacher at the McLean School of Maryland in Potomac. His family hosted the exchange student, according to charging documents. She attends a different school in Montgomery County, police said
Tucker has been placed on a leave of absence “and instructed not to return to campus, participate in or attend school functions or activities, or to make contact with any McLean student,” the school said in a statement. School officials said they had received no prior complaints of such conduct against Tucker and that he had passed a comprehensive vetting process before being hired.
Tucker could not be reached for comment. Online court records do not indicate whether he has retained an attorney.
In a short biography that earlier had been posted on McLean’s Web site, the school said Tucker taught five P.E. classes, coached several sports and played in a tackle football league. “His biggest victory?” the post said. “Making sure all students — not just the natural athletics — improve and compete.”
According to police, on May 27, the student had just finished showering when it was clear to her that someone might be just outside the doorway. Then she saw an iPad sliding underneath the door into the bathroom. On two consecutive nights, she brought her iPhone into the bathroom and captured images of the iPad creeping under the door, according to charging documents.
The night of May 31, she was able to record Tucker outside the bathroom after stealthily positioning a video camera across the hallway before going into the bathroom, authorities said. The next day, she told officials at her school, and they summoned the police.
Detectives examined the videos and photos on the student’s phone. Then they questioned Tucker, who said he had placed his iPad under the door four of five times, taken videos and had deleted them, according to the charging documents.
Julie Zauzmer and Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.