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Former ranger is sentenced for voyeurism

Defendant recorded women undressing at various sites

millinger-sentenced

John T. Millinger, a former Wood County Park District ranger, leaves the courtroom after being sentenced for placing cameras in park restrooms and other locations to film women undressing in the Wood County Courthouse.

The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
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BOWLING GREEN — To Jenna Blaesing, the happy memories of her wedding day were overshadowed by what she described in court on Tuesday as “a creepy park ranger.”

Ms. Blaesing told Wood County Common Pleas Judge Robert Pollex that John T. Millinger had marred her special day when he secretly videotaped her and her bridesmaids dressing for the wedding at the W.W. Knight Preserve in Perrysburg Township. She said her husband’s grandmother had a stroke during the ceremony, and she wonders whether help might have come more quickly if Millinger was doing his job that day.

“I would love to know if you were doing your duty as a park ranger or off watching some of your secret videos,” she said. “Never once have you apologized or taken responsibility for your actions.”

Judge Pollex sentenced Millinger, 27, of Maumee, to 52 months in prison and ordered him to forfeit an iPod Touch and a MacBook computer used to commit the crimes. The judge also classified him as a sex offender who must annually register his address with the sheriff's office for 15 years.

“This is a tragedy for all concerned,” the judge said. “The defendant obviously has suffered much of his life as a consequence of this, and obviously this was a traumatic event for all those who were victims in this matter.”

Millinger, who resigned his position with the Wood County Park District after the allegations came to light in 2011, pleaded guilty last month to 11 counts of voyeurism, three counts of theft in office, and one count of tampering with evidence. The theft in office charge relates to Millinger using park property to commit the crimes, authorities said.

Heather Baker, an assistant Wood County prosecutor, said Millinger had “abused his position as a park ranger, as a trusted law enforcement officer” when he placed recording devices in women’s restrooms or in rooms where he directed bridal parties to use for changing clothes, including an upper classroom at the Knight Preserve and the rangers’ office at Otsego Park.

Ms. Baker said that even after his activities had been discovered he continued them, and that while out on bond he violated the court’s instructions by going on the Internet and visiting voyeuristic Web sites.

Defense attorney Jerome Phillips said Millinger had been successful in school and in his career “until his illness overtook his judgment.” Millinger “lost everything” because of his crimes — his wife, his home, his job, and the respect of his family and friends, Mr. Phillips said.

He noted that his crimes were not violent but said they were serious because they violated the victims’ sense of privacy and security.

“I believe he is remorseful for his conduct. He understands the total impact this had both on the victims and himself and his family,” Mr. Phillips said.

Asked whether he wished to say anything to the court, Millinger replied, “No, your honor, I don’t.”

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

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