PITTSTON — A cook at an Avoca restaurant was arraigned Monday on charges he hid his cellphone in a restroom to record women using the facility.
Avoca police allege Joseph Dowd, 36, of Cremard Boulevard, Duryea, tried to delete videos and pictures from his phone after a waitress at Romano’s found it behind a child’s seat in a stall on April 11.
A forensic analysis by the state police computer crime lab allegedly recovered from Dowd’s phone videos of two women using the restroom, police said.
Dowd initially denied he secretly recorded women in the restroom, and told police he may have left it behind while cleaning the facilities. When confronted with the videos that were retrieved by state police, Dowd allegedly admitted he recorded women in the restroom and would watch the videos because of his addiction to pornography, according to the criminal complaint.
He was arraigned by District Judge Andrew Barilla on two counts of invasion of privacy and one count each of unsworn falsification to authorities and tampering with evidence. He was released on $1,000 unsecured bail.
According to the complaint:
A waitress discovered the cellphone hidden behind a child’s seat in a stall on April 11. She noticed the phone had been recording video for at least 29 minutes.
The waitress gave the phone to the restaurant owner. When an attempt was made to turn off the phone, a photo of Dowd’s dog appeared.
Dowd was given the phone and denied any wrongdoing to the restaurant owner and police. He allegedly told police he may have left his phone while cleaning the ladies restroom, the complaint says.
Police said two deleted videos of another waitress using the restroom were recovered from the phone by state police.
Dowd told police he has been in therapy for an addiction to pornography and allegedly admitted to concealing his phone in the restroom, recording five videos of women for the last month.
He said he deleted the videos after watching the recordings at work.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 15.