After violating parole, Planet Fitness peeping Tom sent back to prison

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James Paul Eddy, III, of the 7800 block or Tarpon Place. Police said he admitted to spying on and videotaping up to 20 women while tanning at a local Planet Fitness. (Courtesy of Norfolk Police)
James Paul Eddy, III, of the 7800 block of Tarpon Place. Police said he admitted to spying on and videotaping up to 20 women while tanning at a local Planet Fitness. (Courtesy of Norfolk Police)

NORFOLK – When James Paul Eddy admitted to spying on women who were using the tanning facilities at a local gym in January, federal prosecutors filed a petition saying that the 40-year-old Eddy had violated the conditions of his supervised probation.

The Eastern Federal District Court agreed with prosecutors on Monday afternoon and sentenced Eddy to 15 months in a federal prison, with a minimum of five years of supervision upon his release. He was immediately taken into custody.

Eddy admitted to peeping, filming nonconsenting nude women and failing to submit monthly supervision reports on time.

“I’ve humiliated myself, my wife, my family, the court and everyone who had faith in me,” Eddy told Judge Raymond Jackson on Monday. “I worked out at the gym two or three times every week and I never intended to do this.”

According to prosecutor Elizabeth Yusi, Eddy told his parole office and Norfolk police that he had filmed between 15 and 20 nude women using tanning beds at Planet Fitness, located at 4245 E. Little Creek Road.

Eddy had gained access to the ceiling above tanning beds and was reported to police on Jan. 11 when a woman, Melanie Sampson, saw fingers moving the ceiling tile back in place while she was redressing in the tanning booth.

Eddy told officers that he had disposed of the camera and all footage of the women and that he did not distribute or upload the images.

Defense Attorney Wilfredo Bonilla, Jr., told the court that Eddy’s actions were the result of extreme stress. Eddy’s wife, Bonilla said, had been deported in September of last year and did not return to the United States until December.

“It’s a troubling way to deal with stress,” Yusi told the court.

Bonilla told a judge that, contributing to the stress of his wife’s deportation, Eddy told counselors about the stress and need for additional counseling and medications in October, November and December of last year, but did not receive those requests until recently.

“My client was not getting the individual therapy that he needs,” Bonilla told the judge. “He makes no excuses for his actions. There is no doubt he had a relapse.”

Eddy was found guilty of a similar crime in 2011 after he was found videotaping nude women in a tanning salon in Chesapeake. After his arrest, officers searched Eddy’s computer, digital camera, and memory cards and found footage of several women, as well as more than 600 images of child pornography.

Eddy was sentenced to 24 months in a federal prison for felony possession of child pornography with five years of supervision upon his release, as well as mandatory registration on the sex offender registry. The supervised probation was set to expire in October 2018.

During his supervision, Yusi said, Eddy repeatedly failed to submit to monthly reports and asked that the court consider lifetime supervision upon Eddy’s future release.

Bonilla asked the judge to consider Eddy’s employment and counseling history in the previous three years and only impose a one week sentence on Eddy for violating the terms of his parole. Jackson called the request “absolutely insufficient.”

“The rules of your supervised release were explained to you,” Jackson told Eddy. “You didn’t follow those rules and you returned to the same criminal conduct. Being incarcerated didn’t deter you.”

Eddy is scheduled to appear in the city of Norfolk general district court on Thursday, April 20, for two counts of peeping into a dwelling through peephole.

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