Local news

Ex-guard avoids jail with voyeurism plea

SATURDAY, AUG. 30, 2008

A former federal security guard avoided jail time Friday when he was placed on community supervision after pleading guilty in state court to a felony voyeurism charge.

Darin Earl Wanless confessed to using computer-linked security cameras in the U.S. Courthouse complex in downtown Spokane to watch women undress in the West 809 condominiums at Main and Lincoln and in the Davenport Hotel at Sprague and Lincoln.

Superior Court Judge Maryann Moreno ordered Wanless to register as a sex offender and complete 36 to 48 months of community supervision, which will include sexual deviancy counseling. He must provide the state with a DNA sample.

The judge scheduled a hearing for Oct. 9, when she will determine if he should be required to pay $1,511 in restitution.

Wanless, 33, was charged Aug. 7, 2007, in Superior Court with four felonies. Instead of going to trial, he struck a plea bargain and July 29 pleaded guilty to one count of felony voyeurism. Three other voyeurism counts were dismissed.

The security cameras he used, with powerful zoom lenses, are on the rooftop of the post office that adjoins the courthouse.

The cameras are intended to monitor activity around the federal buildings and are controlled from a computer-lined control room in the nine-story courthouse where Wanless had access.

The data from the cameras is digitally stored, but investigators were only able to review recordings between May 15 and June 11, 2007. The investigation showed Wanless made inappropriate use of the security cameras on 22 occasions during that period, according to court documents.

He was fired in early June 2007 after another security guard reported the conduct.

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