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Cop pleads guilty to taping young Hollis girl in shower

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Russell Bass, 42, a 15-year veteran with the Port Authority, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court in Kew Gardens to recording the girl undressing and showering over a two-week period last fall, Brown said.

Bass, of Hempstead, L.I., pleaded guilty Monday to attempted unlawful surveillance, a misdemeanor, Brown said. He was scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 17.

The surveillance charge against Bass is the first in Queens under a new law that took effect in August, establishing video surveillance in some situations as a felony, the DA said.

As part of his plea bargain, Bass was expected to be sentenced to three years' probation. Bass will also be required to participate in counseling programs and has been ordered to stay away from the girl, the DA said.

"The defendant has admitted guilt, waived his right to an appeal and resigned as a police officer," Brown said. "Additionally, he must undergo sex offender treatment for at least two years and thereafter additional psychotherapy with a counselor selected by my Special Victims Bureau. The defendant also has been ordered to stay away from the victim and her family."

The 11-year-old girl, whose name was not released, was in the shower about 6:30 a.m. Oct. 10, when she noticed a hand holding a video camera outside the partially opened bathroom window, Brown said. The girl told her family and her mother, brother and sister found Bass standing in their backyard beneath the bathroom window, Brown said.

Bass fled, but the family chased after him and held him until police arrived, according to a criminal complaint filed by the DA.

Videocassettes in Bass' bag and the tape in the camera allegedly show several women and children in their homes undressing, showering and using the toilet, the DA said. Investigators were trying to identify some of the other women on the tapes, but there was no information on other possible charges.

The tapes also show about nine scenes of the 11-year-old girl, her sister, 16, and her mother, Brown said. The images, all taken of the victims from the rear yard of their home, were made between 6 a.m. and 6:30 a.m. on weekdays in September and October, Brown said.

Bass did not know the 11-year-old girl and her family, and investigators suspect there is no relationship with the other victims, a law enforcement source said.

Bass had been assigned to Kennedy Airport, not far from the girl's Hollis home, but he was suspended from duty without pay after his arrest, said a spokesman for the Port Authority. He resigned, effective Jan. 2, as part of his guilty plea.

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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