A Trenton man and former Butler County Sheriff’s deputy accused of trying to take photos up women’s dresses at a grocery store has been found not guilty.
Dennis Schiavone Jr. , 43, was charged with attempted voyeurism, a second-degree misdemeanor, following the alleged incident on July 2 at Kroger on Oxford State Road.
Two women testified during the bench trial last month in Middletown Municipal Court that they saw Schiavone Jr. pushing a cart with a cell phone anchored in the front bottom portion by a bag of produce. One woman said he got very close to her in the dairy aisle, and she saw the phone facing up.
“I was shopping at Kroger that day,” Schiavone Jr. testified, noting he was buying ingredients to make Italian sandwiches.
Store video was played for the judge showing Schiavone and the two women in the store. Schiavone appeared to have a bag, which he identified as containing onions, on the bottom of the cart. At one point he does approach a woman near an aisle, and he also is seen inspecting the bottom of his cart in another video, and looking at his watch.
Prosecutors say he was glancing at his smartwatch while pushing the cart. Schiavone Jr. said he stopped to check the onions on the bottom of his cart after smelling something bad.
“I thought I might have had some bad onions,” he said.
Defense attorney Attorney Frank Schiavone IV, who is Schiavone Jr.’s cousin, pointed out deputies seized a number of electronics from Schiavone Jr.s residence but found no evidence of any recordings made at the Kroger store.
Visiting Judge Thomas Hanna said in his ruling issued Tuesday there was not evidence beyond a resonable doubt to convict Schiavone Jr.
“The court finds the defendant engaged in acts of preparation with the intent to engage in act or acts of voyeurism. The court further finds the state’s evidence supporting the charged violation approaches, but does not raise to the level of proof beyond a reasonable doubt,” Hanna wrote in the decision obtained by the Journal-News.
Schiavone IV said, “We trust in the process of the judicial system and the system worked. Dennis proclaimed his innocence and was found to so of the charge.”
In 2003, Schiavone Jr. was convicted of sexual battery and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for having sexual conduct with a 17-year-old student while he was a school resource officer in Madison Local Schools. He served a six-month jail sentence, was placed on five years probation and was declared a sexually oriented offender.