The suspect was a part-time TV program technician, not a teacher.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR COURTHOUSE REPORTER
YOUNGSTOWN -- A man accused of secretly videotaping a high school girl as she changed clothes in January pleaded innocent to criminal charges Tuesday.
John E. Hoppa Jr., 33, of Lanterman Road, is charged with voyeurism and tampering with evidence. He is free on bond, awaiting trial in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
If convicted, Hoppa faces six to 12 months in prison for the voyeurism charge, and one to five years for tampering with evidence.
Hoppa's attorney, Don L. Hanni Jr. of Youngstown, calls it "a bull---- charge."
Has been fired
Hoppa was a part-time technician for Channel 19, an in-house television station at Austintown Fitch High School. He was not a teacher and has since been fired, said Superintendent Rich Denamen.
Assistant Prosecutor Deena Calabrese said Hoppa told the victim to go into an office area used for TV equipment storage to change from her on-camera outfit to some casual clothes.
The girl was not aware at the time that Hoppa had set up a hidden camera to tape her as she changed, Calabrese said.
The scheme was uncovered when another student went into the room afterward and noticed that the camera was on. He stopped the camera, removed the tape and gave it to a program supervisor, who played the tape to find out what was on it.
Broke the tape
When Hoppa found out what happened, he grabbed the tape and broke it, which is the reason for the tampering charge, Calabrese said. She said prosecutors were able to have the tape repaired so jurors can view it at trial.
The girl's mother later filed a complaint with township police, leading to Hoppa's arrest, Calabrese said.
Denamen said there have been no other complaints of similar activity since then.