Judge sets bail at $8,000 for Concord man accused of secretly recording girls in bathroom

  • John Wilkinson, 59, of Concord —Courtesy

Monitor staff
Published: 6/20/2019 10:55:09 AM

A Concord man is accused of secretly filming two teenage girls and one woman in a bathroom by hiding a GoPro camera in a magazine basket.

Police say that John Wilkinson, 59, also groped one of the girls in May 2018 while she was playing a video game with a friend. The sexual assault was captured on a wireless camera, according to court records.

Wilkinson was arrested Wednesday night on seven counts of violation of privacy and one count of sexual assault, all misdemeanors. He was held overnight at the county jail in Boscawen and arraigned by video in Concord district’s court Thursday morning, where attorneys disagreed on bail.

City Prosecutor Tracy Connolly asked Judge M. Kristin Spath to detain Wilkinson pending trial because of the danger she believes he poses to the community and to the juvenile victims. Conversely, defense attorney Andrew Winters argued that personal recognizance is appropriate given Wilkinson’s deep ties to Concord and his clean record. Winters told Spath that if she was inclined to order cash bail that it should not exceed $2,000 or $3,000.

But Spath disagreed, setting bail at $8,000 in total or, as she reasoned, $1,000 per criminal charge.

“I do see you as a danger to the community,” she said.

Concord police began their investigation of Wilkinson in July 2018 after one of the girls disclosed to her mother that she was filmed by Wilkinson in a bathroom at a residence on Hoit Road, where she’d been swimming with a friend.

The girls told police that Wilkinson’s phone was on the kitchen counter when they observed what appeared to be an image on it from the home’s first-floor bathroom with a “red circular button common on video-recording applications,” according to an affidavit prepared by Concord police Detective Wade Brown. When one of the girls went into the bathroom in search of a recording device, the other girl could see the live video feed with her friend’s legs in the picture.

Neither girl confronted Wilkinson at the time. A police report was filed that same day.

Police detectives quickly obtained a search warrant for the Hoit Road home to seize any cellphones, computers and digital recording devices belonging to Wilkinson. In executing the warrant, they told Wilkinson that he was not under arrest and did not have to speak with them.

Wilkinson responded by telling police “he had nothing to hide,” the affidavit says. While he first denied placing any cameras in the bathroom of the residence, he later changed his account, telling police he had placed a wireless GoPro camera in the first-floor bathroom on July 5, 2018, in an attempt to capture images of the two teenage girls, Wade wrote.

Wilkinson told police that day that he’d only installed the camera that one time. However, the police investigation revealed images dating back to summer 2017, nearly one year earlier.

To ensure that the statute of limitations would not expire, police applied for an arrest warrant on three of the seven violation of privacy charges while continuing their investigation, which included an extensive review of Wilkinson’s electronic files. The law allows for police to file charges up to one year after the date of the crime.

“To preserve the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we did not advise Wilkinson of the arrest warrant or actively seek to arrest him at that time,” Wade wrote.

In the months that followed, detectives found images of the two teenage girls in their swimsuits, in addition to other photographs showing eight unidentified women in their teens and 20s shopping in retail stores around December 2014.

Police noted that the images they believe Wilkinson took in public do not violate New Hampshire’s privacy laws because they were taken in a public place. However, in combination with the other photographs and videos, they began to establish a pattern, dating back years.

“We gradually discovered additional incriminating videos and photos which documented John Wilkinson’s sexual interest in female juveniles,” Wade wrote.

Wilkinson, who is employed as an electrician, is next scheduled to appear in Concord’s district court on July 9 for a trial management conference. Bail conditions prohibit him from having contact with the victims or anyone under the age of 18.

(Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 369-3319 or at adandrea@cmonitor.com.)



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