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Published: Friday, 5/3/2013

Ex-Wood park ranger guilty of voyeurism

Man taped women, tot undressing in facilities

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

BOWLING GREEN — For nine months, a former Wood County Park District ranger secretly videotaped women — and one young girl — while they changed clothes in park facilities before he was caught.

The scheme was discovered in August, 2011, when one of the women undressing inside a restroom at the W.W. Knight Preserve in Perrysburg Township bumped a “no smoking” sign that the ranger used to hide his iPod Touch, said Heather Baker, an assistant Wood County prosecutor.

John T. Millinger, 27, of Maumee pleaded guilty Thursday in Wood County Common Pleas Court to every charge in a 15-count indictment: 11 counts of voyeurism, three counts of theft in office, and one count of tampering with evidence.

While 10 of the voyeurism charges are misdemeanors, the 11th — which involves secretly recording a 2-year-old girl in a state of nudity — is a felony.

Ms. Baker told the court that in exchange for Millinger’s guilty pleas, the prosecutor’s office would recommend a 54-month prison sentence and would not oppose his motion for judicial release after he serves six months in prison. She said Millinger also agreed to forfeit both the iPod Touch and a MacBook computer used to commit the crimes.

Judge Robert Pollex of Wood County Common Pleas Court, who set sentencing for June 18, accepted Millinger’s pleas but cautioned him that while prosecutors would not oppose his early release, that did not mean he had to grant it.

Millinger, standing with defense attorney Jerry Phillips, said he understood and replied, “Yes, Your Honor,” when asked if the facts outlined by Ms. Baker accurately portrayed what he had done.

Ms. Baker told the court Millinger had allowed a bridal party to change their clothes in an upper classroom at the Knight Preserve, where he had set up the room to make sure they would undress in front of a surveillance camera. He later transferred the images to his MacBook.

On other occasions, Ms. Baker said, he filmed women changing clothes in the rangers’ office at Otsego Park, where he had placed a video recording device in a clock with a hole poked in it. He also placed his iPod behind a “no smoking” sign in the women’s restroom at the Knight Preserve and sometimes locked one of the stalls, forcing women to change in the handicapped stall in view of the camera.

Millinger was placed on paid administrative leave in September 2011, but resigned that same day.

Neil Munger, director of the Wood County Park District, attended the hearing. He said his office carefully screens prospective employees and could not have foreseen what occurred. He said he has told the prosecutor’s office he hopes Millinger will not be able to work in law enforcement again.

“I don’t want to see anyone go through what we went through,” he said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-213-2134.



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