A man will spend 90 days in jail and must register as a sex offender for the next 15 years after he was found guilty of attempted voyeurism stemming from a peeping incident at a Middletown tanning salon.
David Reuss, 44, formerly of Batavia, was originally charged with misdemeanor voyeurism and inducing panic after a woman claimed he was recording her as she was topless in a tanning booth at Palm Beach Tan on Elliott Drive.
During more than one hour of testimony Thursday in Middletown Municipal Court, the 36-year-old victim called the situation “the worst thing” she has gone through.
The woman told police that after tanning, she was standing in the booth when “something didn’t feel right.” She glanced toward her left and saw a few fingers holding a cell phone that was pointed toward her from the booth next to her. She covered her breasts with one arm, then pounded on the wall, screaming, she testified in court.
When confronted by the woman, Reuss denied taking picture or shooting video, and he left the business without incident. The store manager said she immediately called 911 with a description of Reuss’ vehicle and a partial license plate number.
He was arrested a few days later, but refused to talk to police, Middletown Detective Thomas McIntosh testified in court.
Middletown police never found any photos or video on Reuss’ cell phone nor had any proof the photos were ever there.
Reuss may have stood on a bench and pointed his cell phone in the air to improve reception, defense attorney Scott Kruger said in court.
McIntosh said Reuss couldn’t have stepped on a bench 18 inches above the floor and put his cell phone over the eight-foot tall partition on accident.
Kruger told the judge that Reuss was remorseful, had no criminal record and was seeking treatment for psychological issues. He said Reuss was “not a threat to society.”
Middletown Municipal Court Judge Mark W. Wall found Reuss guilty of the lesser charge of attempted voyeurism because police never found evidence of photos. Reuss was found not guilty of inducing panic after Kruger argued that testimony described a calm scene at the salon.
Reuss was sentenced to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. He must also register as a sex offender for the next 15 years.
Reuss declined to answer media questions as he left the courtroom.
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