A 46-year-old was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to possessing child sexual abuse material, according to the United States Attorney's Office, which said he recorded minors in the bathroom of two residences.
Norman Merrill II, from Chester, Vermont, was investigated after police received reports of possible voyeurism at his home. Witnesses allegedly found a hidden recording device in a bathroom in Merrill's home and said that he was secretly recording young girls as they walked in front of him at Green Mountain High School, where he worked.
After obtaining warrants, police seized electronic devices including cell phones, storage devices, "pinholes cameras," and a "spy camera."
Vermont State Police found a number of voyeuristic videos from residential bathrooms on the man's memory card, some videos taken in his own home. Some of the videos also showed nude minors.
Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations discovered that Merrill's hidden cameras were deliberately placed to obtain footage of one female minor in particular. HSI found that he had placed hidden cameras in the bathrooms of two different residences, one of which was placed under a bathroom sink to capture the minor's private area as she was in the bathroom.
The man also had screen captures created from the hidden-camera videos, which focused solely on the child's genitalia. Additional children and some adults were also caught on camera using his bathroom. Some videos contained nudity.
Additional misconduct involving children was found upon review of Merrill's electronic devices, including one file that depicted the sexual abuse of a child, a file he did not create himself. Merrill also allegedly cut the faces off of a series of photographs of female children, which then appeared to have been clipped and digitally overlaid onto images of adult pornography.
Other videos in the man's possession were videos that appeared to have been taken secretly at a school, showing females in revealing clothing. It was suspected that this was the school at which he worked.
United States District Judge Christina Reiss sentenced Merrill to 10 years in prison, followed by a 10-year term of supervised release. He was also ordered to pay $3,750 in restitution, a $5,000 fine, and a $3,000 special assessment to be paid to the Child Pornography Victims Reserve Fund.
The investigation was completed with efforts from the Chester Police Department, Vermont State Police, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Homeland Security Investigations.
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