Man pleads guilty in WAFB-TV video voyeurism case
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Two female employees of WAFB-TV gave emotional testimony in court Tuesday as their former co-worker pleaded guilty to secretly recording the women as they used a restroom inside the television station.
"Your actions turned my life upside down," one of the women said during victim impact statements. She then faced Morgan McDermitt and looked him in the face. "I want you to see me," she said. "Look at me, not the body parts you so disgustingly filmed without my knowledge."
She described how she considered McDermitt to be like her "little brother" and said she could not believe how he had betrayed her trust.
The presiding judge refused to immediately accept the terms of the plea deal and order a 60-day pre-sentencing investigation.
"He is a predator," the other woman said during her victim impact statement. "Everyone at the station feels like a victim," the same woman told Morgan McDermitt, 27, who pleaded guilty to two counts of video voyeurism.
"He is deranged," the second woman said. "He is a predator and should be sentenced as one," she added.
McDermitt was a former employee who returned to the station on two occasions in late 2017 under the guise that he was visiting his former coworkers.
It's during those two visits that he placed his cell phone in a restroom and captured videos of the women.
One of the women discovered the phone partially hidden under a jacket.
"I know I took advantage of friends of mine and I don't deserve their mercy," McDermitt told the judge.
Police say a search of McDermitt's phone turned up videos of the two women using the WAFB restroom as well as compromising photographs of several other unidentified women that appeared to have been taken on the LSU campus.
WAFB is not revealing the names of the two women since they are victims of a sex crime. They were identified in court only by their initials.
McDermitt's defense lawyer and the prosecutor in the case offered a plea deal in which McDermitt would receive a 2-year suspended sentence, be placed on probation for three years and be required to register as a sex offender for 15 years.
But after hearing from both victims in court, Judge Beau Higginbotham said he was not prepared to agree to the deal and ordered the pre-sentencing hearing.
The judge said the victim impact statements painted a much different picture than what he had been told about the case. While he did not openly say so in court, the judge seemed to be leaning toward a stiffer sentence than what the plea deal calls for.
The two charges McDermitt admits to carry a maximum sentence of up to two years in prison per count.
Higginbotham ordered all parties back into court on September 26 for sentencing.
McDermitt, a married Denham Springs man who worked on the WAFB studio production crew, was known by co-workers for having a charming smile and a boy-next-door demeanor.
"You're a wolf in sheep's clothing," one of the women told him. "I believe in forgiveness and I have forgiven you. I hope you get help," she added.
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