SALISBURY — A former Newtown, Conn., man was sentenced to six years in prison yesterday after admitting that he hid a video camera in a bathroom at his Salisbury Beach vacation home and used it to record young girls showering there back in 2012.
David Anderson, 47, is also awaiting trial in another hidden camera case in which he posed as a Harvard-affiliated doctor conducting medical research to lure a woman into undergoing a pelvic and breast examination, during which he sexually assaulted her, prosecutors say.
And prosecutors in Connecticut are also waiting to try Anderson on child pornography charges there as well.
The parents of four girls, who ranged in age from 10 to 13, who were secretly recorded as they undressed to take a shower at Anderson’s home, called his actions a betrayal of trust that has left them devastated.
One mother burst into tears as she tried to tell Salem Superior Court Judge Timothy Feeley how she struggles to deal with the aftermath.
“I can’t get it out of my head, and it sickens me, to think of David using my daughter for his sexual gratification,” the woman wrote in a statement she had to hand off to a victim-witness advocate to read in court.
She and the other parents were friends and relatives of Anderson, who had been staying at the home on Salisbury Beach after separating from his wife.
The case came to light after Anderson’s wife went to police in Newtown, Conn., to report finding photos of young children on a computer at their home.
Newtown police contacted their colleagues in Salisbury, who got a search warrant for his 1 Sunset Terrace home and eventually found the videos of the four girls, along with an adult woman who had also used the shower. Two boys were also recorded, but the camera did not capture them below the waist, said a prosecutor.
The children, prosecutor Jean Curran said, were told they had to shower in a downstairs bathroom before entering the rest of the house.
Police also found one video that showed Anderson’s face as he turned the camera on and then turned it off.
The parents of the children say they believe the images were from a gathering at Anderson’s home on July 7, 2012.
“He may not have harmed them physically but he harmed them in ways we’ll never see,” said one parent in a written statement read in court by the prosecutor.
One father said he now finds it hard to trust other parents and said, “I still can’t stop replaying the entire scenario in my mind.”
Another said he fears that Anderson, whom he called “angry and vindictive,” will seek retribution after he is released from prison.
That was also a concern expressed by Anderson’s now-ex-wife, who said police told her to go into hiding after his arrest.
“It’s the dark side that scares me most,” she told Feeley.
The sentence was the result of a joint recommendation by Curran and defense attorney Jeffrey Denner, after Anderson pleaded guilty yesterday to four counts each of posing a child in a state of nudity and possession of child pornography, and one count of surreptitiously photographing a person in the nude, the adult woman who showered at his home.
Denner suggested that Anderson is “suffering from a huge amount of psychopathology and mental illness” during the sentencing, though Anderson himself acknowledged only that he’s been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Following his release, Anderson will be on probation for three years, with conditions that include registering as a sex offender, wearing a GPS bracelet, staying away from the victims, no unsupervised contact with children under 16 and a sex offender evaluation and treatment.
Anderson will be in Suffolk Superior Court on Dec. 21 in his other pending Massachusetts case, in which he allegedly contacted a young woman who had posted her resume on Craigslist in 2011 and invited her to take part in “medical research.”
Prosecutors in Suffolk County say Anderson told her he was a Harvard-affiliated doctor and that she could make $500 to $800 a week as part of the study.
She agreed to meet him at what “looked like a typical doctor’s office,” in Charlestown, where he performed an “exam” that, prosecutors say, was actually a sexual assault. During the search of Anderson’s home, police found photos of the woman that Anderson had secretly taken, prosecutors say.