Today’s news:

Janitor Suspected of Being Camcorder Creep Faces Jail

It’s enough to make one want to click off the camera and change his ways. A Brooklyn grand jury handed down a whopping 360-count indictment against Michael Conte, a former Department of Education janitor at Westinghouse Career and Technical School who allegedly reveled in a sick sideline business: secretly videotaping female students and staff members in building locker and bath rooms, according to officials. Officials said that each count – 90 for unlawful surveillance for amusement or profit, 90 for sexual arousal, 90 for taping for no legitimate purpose and 90 for using an imaging device to view underneath clothing – comes with a maximum four-year sentence and a fine of $5,000. Legal insiders believe that Conte would plead guilty, since, if convicted of everything he will be spending the rest of his life in prison. Conte, a Staten Island resident, will not be able to respond to the charges until similar charges are hammered out in Suffolk County, where he was accused of setting up a video camera in the bathroom of a female friend who lives in Selden. While being questioned in that case, Conte admitted to videotaping students and female staffers at both Westinghouse Career and Technical High School, 105 Tech Place, and Brooklyn Technical High School, 29 Fort Greene Place, since the late 1990s, according to officials. As of this writing, Conte was being held on $50,000 in Suffolk County. Conte’s family had managed to bail the 46-year-old out of Rikers Island last month, but may not have enough to bail him out of jail in Suffolk County. According to the criminal complaint filed at the Kings County District Attorney’s office, Conte had been “secretly taping women using the fourth-floor faculty bathroom in Westinghouse High School since the beginning of the school year in 2005” and, at least, “through December 24, 2005.” He had also taped women inside the ladies locker room at Brooklyn Technical High School, when he worked as a machinist there over a decade ago, officials said. Police said he videotaped the women from a small camera installed in a hole in the wall. The images were recorded on his Sony Handycam, and then transferred to DVD. While searching Conte’s Jerome Avenue home, police found a shotgun and over 800 videotapes and DVDs believed to contain images of women at Westinghouse High School using the bathroom. A handful of pinhole cameras were also recovered, officials said. Conte’s activities weren’t limited to his work. According to published reports, Conte had also placed a camera in the bathroom of his home, which he shared with his mother and sister. Upon news of his arrest, the Department of Education fired Conte, claiming that he will “never again be allowed near anyone in our schools.”

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