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Man admits secretly taping woman

Published on December 15, 2007
Author:    Matt Gryta - NEWS STAFF REPORTER
The Buffalo News Inc.

A Grand Island man pleaded guilty Friday to second-degree unlawful surveillance for videotaping a nude woman in his Alt Boulevard home.


Donald R. Hoover, 53, a crew chief for the Town of Grand Island's water maintenance operations, hid a videotaping system in a potted plant to film a woman in her early 20s, a family acquaintance, in the act of bathing. Hoover also hid a similar camera in a TV set in another room, for the same purpose, prosecutors said.


Prosecutor Marni Bogart told State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang that several months ago, a family member found a VCR tape of the woman hidden beneath a blanket in the garage of the home. The criminal conduct occurred from last May through July, prosecutors said.


Hoover, a first-time offender, likely will faces 10 years of probation when sentenced Feb. 21 but will be spared from having to register with the state's sex offender registry, because he pleaded guilty before he was indicted. Bogart said she plans to seek an extension of an order of protection barring Hoover from contacting his victim.


Hoover is the second local man to plead guilty recently to a similar crime.


On Oct. 15, Sidney Allen, 37, of Cambridge Avenue, pleaded guilty before Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk to second-degree unlawful surveillance and child endangerment for videotaping a 15-year-old female relative as she stepped into a bathtub.


Bogart, also the prosecutor in that case, said that victim spotted the digital camcorder behind a bath curtain.


Allen, who also pleaded guilty to sodomy and promoting prostitution in 1989, faces one to three years in prison when sentenced Feb. 11, court officials said.


In both cases, family members alerted authorities, prosecutors said.