A Maryland landlord who admitted to spying on tenants via hidden cameras was sentenced Tuesday to a three-year suspended sentence and will not face jail time.
Instead, Dennis Alan Van Dusen will be on probation. He was also ordered to continue psychiatric care, reported News4's Chris Gordon.
Van Dusen installed the hidden cameras inside smoke detectors in rooms in his Chevy Chase home, then rented at favorable rates to young women and then filmed them when they were with their boyfriends, police said.
Prosecutors had asked for at least a year in jail for Van Dusen, but a judge said putting him in jail would serve no purpose because Van Dusen wouldn't be able to continue getting psychiatric help.
“You feel betrayed you were watched by someone you were supposed to trust,” one victim said.
She discovered a camera after reading an article in Cosmopolitan about landlords using fake smoke detectors to spy on female tenants, and she checked out the detector over her bed. She then contacted police.
“When I opened it up and saw the camera, the first thing that I saw was a little green hard drive, and I’d recently taken a computer class so I knew that A, a smoke detector doesn’t have a hard drive, and B, what a hard drive looks like,” she said.
Van Dusen, who has a science degree from Penn State, master’s degrees from Harvard and MIT and a law degree from the University of the District of Columbia, pleaded guilty in April to three peeping Tom misdemeanors and had faced up to 18 months in prison.
“He’s a modern day peeping Tom,” Montgomery County state’s attorney spokesman Ramon Korionoff said at the time. “He stole not only these women’s privacy, he stole their peace of mind.”