By John Lundy
A former Itasca County Sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to two years of probation on a felony charge of interfering with the privacy of a minor for attempting to videotape a teenage girl before and after she showered.
Aaron Edward Apitz, 45, of Bovey was sentenced on Monday, court records show.
The 17-year veteran of the sheriff’s office resigned on March 5, one day before he was charged with the felony. He pleaded guilty on March 19.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension reported that on Feb. 25, Apitz used his work cell phone in an attempt to videotape a 17-year-old girl as she entered and exited a shower.
The girl found the telephone in the bathroom and told investigators it was recording when she discovered it.
The victim told investigators she took the cell phone to a bedroom and was attempting to contact her mother and friends when Apitz confronted her and demanded that she return it.
The BCA obtained the cell phone during its investigation, but its memory had been wiped clean.
The case was prosecuted by Christopher Strandlie of the Cass County Attorney’s Office. Ninth Judicial District Judges Jon Maturi and Lois Lang, who have chambers in the Itasca County Courthouse, recused themselves from hearing the case. It was assigned to Judge Charles LeDuc of International Falls.
Attorney John Undem of Grand Rapids defended Apitz.
LeDuc applied numerous conditions to Apitz’s probationary sentence, including attending a sex-offender program, neither having nor using any pornographic or sexually explicit material, being subject to search by the probation officer, submitting to polygraph examinations as directed, and having no access to or use of the Internet without approval and no contact with the victim.
- What about being on the online shaming hit-list like the average citizen would be for the same crime?
He also is prohibited from possessing a smartphone, and if he possesses a cell phone with recording and photography capabilities, his probation agent must have access to it.
He was fined $1,000.
Neither Undem nor Strandlie was available for comment on Friday. The News Tribune was unable to reach Apitz.
Apitz had no previous criminal record.