Former Davenport housing official pleads guilty in hidden camera case
DAVENPORT, Iowa — Roy DeWitt, the former housing programs manager for the city of Davenport, admitted Tuesday that he placed a hidden camera in a locked employee-only bathroom at the city-owned Heritage High Rise apartments in March, the Quad City Times reports.
The 46-year-old Pella, Iowa, man did so “knowing that others would be recorded when staff had reasonable expectation of privacy” for the purpose of “arousing/satisfying sexual desire of any person, without victims’ consent,” according to a written plea of guilty filed through his attorney, Steve Hanna, in Scott County District Court.
DeWitt pleaded guilty to eight counts of invasion of privacy, an aggravated misdemeanor, each punishable by up to two years in prison.
The plea is open, meaning that Scott County prosecutors can make any recommendation when he is sentenced July 27.
However, prosecutors wrote in a plea agreement filed Tuesday that they would agree to a cap of six years of incarceration if recommended, if he accepted the plea agreement by Aug. 31.
They also agreed not to file any additional charges for all videos discovered on the recording device and on his phone, according to the plea agreement.
DeWitt remains free on bond.
Around 10:50 a.m. March 14, detectives from the Davenport Police Department launched an investigation at Heritage High Rise, 501 W. 3rd St.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by police:
DeWitt concealed a spyware digital movie camera in an employee bathroom that required key access where employees would reasonably have an expectation of privacy.
The camera was positioned in a manner to capture and record video for later playback purposes to cause arousal and sexual gratification.
Eight people were recorded multiple times from approximately January 2017 through March 2018 without their consent.
The hidden camera was positioned to record them in full or partial nudity. Male and female staff members were recorded, as well as images of DeWitt masturbating. He also was recorded holding the camera in his hands. Deleted images from the hidden camera were recovered on a memory card located on his personal cellphone.
DeWitt sent a text message to one of the people depicted in the videos the morning after it was discovered and removed saying, “you found it?” and wanting to discuss it. That person was offended by DeWitt’s actions, according to the affidavit.
He was placed on paid administrative leave the day the camera was discovered. He was fired on March 19 after he failed to attend an interview and pre-disciplinary meeting.
DeWitt was originally hired as a part-time horticultural technician with the Parks Department on Sept. 26, 2007.
He was hired as a neighborhood service specialist with Community Planning and Economic Development on Nov. 1, 2007, and was promoted to assisted housing program manager on July 1, 2014.