EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 25, 2013

Man sentenced in Salem voyeurism case

By Doug Ireland

---- — BRENTWOOD — A man who hid under a woman’s mobile home for two days and videotaped her and her son will spend three to six years in prison.

Christian Hobbs, 44, of Orleans, Mass., was sentenced yesterday in Rockingham Superior Court after pleading guilty to four charges as part of an agreement with prosecutors.

But Judge William N. Delker and Assistant County Attorney Jerome Blanchard said they wished state law allowed Hobbs to receive a harsher sentence.

Blanchard told how Hobbs hid under Tina Iacono’s Salem home for two days and secretly recorded and videotaped the 40-year-old woman and her toddler son.

Hobbs cut openings in the floor of the Friendship Drive mobile home so he could spy on her using two baby monitors and a cellphone. At one point, he waited beneath the trailer for hours, hoping to see Iacono undress, Blanchard said.

“The defendant apparently has an obsession with this victim,” he said.

The judge was appalled.

“The conduct that was described is extremely disturbing,” Delker said.

Iacono, who thought she saw an animal trapped in her bathroom vent, became frightened when she saw Hobbs peering up at her. She did not attend the sentencing.

“Hello,” he said, telling her not to be scared, police said.

Hobbs was no stranger to the woman, who bought the home from him five years earlier.

Hobbs later admitted to police he had been hiding underneath the trailer at Good Luck Trailer Park for two days, videotaping and listening to mother and son through baby monitors. He told Salem police he masturbated while under the trailer. Police found a stash of PowerBars, tissues and drinks beneath the home.

After investigating, police concluded Hobbs, a handyman, had hooked up two baby monitors in the trailer while doing work for Iacono.

Hobbs later returned to the home uninvited and cuts holes in the floor and the vent beneath the bathroom floor. He caused $795 in damage, Blanchard said.

Hobbs was initially charged with manufacturing child pornography for videotaping the boy while the toddler was nude. He was not indicted on that charge, but was on 10 others.

He was indicted in November on two counts each of burglary, criminal mischief, attempted violation of privacy, violation of privacy, and attempted interception of telecommunications or oral communications.

As part of the agreement with the prosecutors, Hobbs pleaded guilty to single charges of burglary and criminal trespass. They are felonies each punishable by three and a half to seven years in prison if convicted at trial.

Hobbs also pleaded guilty to single misdemeanor charges of violation of privacy and attempted interception of telecommunications or oral communications.

The maximum penalty for each was a year in jail and a $2,000 fine, which Delker and Blanchard said did not fit the seriousness of the crimes.

“That, to me, is the most egregious part of the case,” Blanchard said.

Blanchard said when Hobbs was 18, he was convicted in Massachusetts of larceny and contributing to the delinquency of a minor after he was caught watching a teenage girl undress.

“He told police he has had a voyeur problem for up to 20 years and needs help,” Blanchard said.

Public defender Kristen Guilmette said her client has cooperated with police throughout their investigation.

“All he wants is help and he wants counseling,” she said.

Hobbs, who was shackled, told Delker he wouldn’t have been able to show up for the sentencing if it were not for his anti-anxiety medication.

As part of his sentence, Hobbs must participate in a treatment program for sex offenders and stay at least 100 yards away from the victim.

Hobbs had been held at the county jail on $25,000 cash bail since his arrest.