IOWA CITY (AP) — A judge has ruled an Iowa City landlord was looking for sexual gratification when he spied on female tenants through hidden peepholes in their bathrooms and bedrooms.
Judge Stephen Gerard ruled Tuesday that Elwyn Miller, 64, is guilty of six counts of invasion of privacy. Gerard made the ruling following a one-day bench trial three months ago in Johnson County District Court.
Miller was arrested in October 2012 after he was accused of peeping on a female tenant at one of his properties. An investigation led to the discovery of several peepholes and more allegations.
Miller was first charged with 11 counts — two each for five tenants and one count for a sixth. But Gerard ruled that each count for each tenant was essentially the same.
Defense attorney Mark Brown argued that prosecutors failed to prove Miller viewed his tenants for arousal or sexual gratification. Such distinction is needed under the state's invasion of privacy-nudity statute. Brown also said there was no proof that Miller viewed the women while they were nude.
But Gerard wrote that Miller's placement of the peepholes was clearly for such purposes, and that he created a "sophisticated method" of spying on them.
"Considering the facts and circumstances surrounding the acts to determine the Defendant's specific intent, the Court finds that the placement of the peepholes clearly supports the inference that the Defendant's purpose in utilizing the peepholes to view the female tenants in their bathrooms and bedroom was for the purpose of arousing or gratifying his sexual desires as he viewed the women in the nude," he wrote.
Miller will be sentenced on Feb. 10. He faces up to six years in prison.
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