A Former TABC Officer is Charged with Secretly Videotaping His Stepdaughter

Categories: Crime

MartinHerrmann.jpg
Fort Worth Police were mum when Martin Herrmann, a 50-year-old former agent with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, was arrested late last month on a charge of improper photography/visual recording.

The TABC offered only slightly more information, telling the Star-Telegram that Herrmann had been fired in November for failing to cooperate with an internal investigation sparked when the agency learned of a Fort Worth police investigation. The substance of those investigations was anyone's guess.

Documents released Friday by Fort Worth police in response to an public records request provide a bit more detail.

The events leading to the investigation started in March 2012, when Herrmann's 24-year-old stepdaughter, who shared the family's home in the 4500 block of Red Robin Court, found a pen tucked inside a book of crossword puzzles that was kept on the back of the toilet. She worried that the pen might fall into the hands of her young child, and she returned it to Herrmann with instructions to keep it out of the bathroom.

The pen, however, kept reappearing. Once, she discovered it hanging in a toy bag, something she might have blamed on the child if the kid weren't too short to reach the toys. She grew more suspicious when she found the pen in her bedroom on top of her dresser, then found it there again after returning it to Herrmann. And she thought it odd when she arrived home to find Herrmann installing a motion detection system in her bedroom -- merely a safety measure, he reassured her.

The final straw came in November, when the stepdaughter found two pens, one in her bedroom, one in her bathroom. She turned to Google. The pens, she discovered, weren't mere writing instruments but doubled as clandestine digital video cameras. The motion detector had recording capabilities as well. Plugging one of the pen cameras into her computer, she found videos.

This was all disturbing enough that the woman went to police, taking the pen cameras with her. Digital forensic examiners detected deleted videos dating back five months, indicating that video files had been transferred onto a computer. Police obtained a search warrant and seized from the Red Robin Court home three computers, a Nook e-reader, cameras, and various flash drives, DVDs, and CDs.

That information was contained in a search warrant affidavit filed in Tarrant County. The city of Fort Worth is seeking a ruling from the attorney general's office on whether it has to release other documents, which it says are part of an ongoing criminal investigation. But based on the evidence -- the stepdaughter discovering video equipment in the bathroom, a subsequent charge of improper visual recording against Herrmann -- it's hard not to jump to certain conclusions.


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25 comments
Captaingrumpy
Captaingrumpy

Dirty little man. whats wrong with the prostitutes on the street. they get paid.

concernedyankee
concernedyankee

although i dont condone what he did, i think ya'll should stop making fun of his facial appearance.  you dont know his past physical history and to write about appearance is just plain immature.  Also, ya'll dont seem to be considering the fact that HE has a young son and is being supported emotionally by his wife (who by the way is the mother of the woman who went to the police)

keepcensoringDO
keepcensoringDO

You guys better stop making fun of this guy... @bmarvel is going to admonish you if you keep it up

kergo1spaceship
kergo1spaceship

Sick bastard!  Also, looks like he didn't fare too well in the battle with down syndrome. 

JustSaying
JustSaying

After reading the article and looking at the mugshot I can't get "The Stroke" by Billy Squier out of my head.

Lakewooder
Lakewooder

Looks like she hit him upside the face with a frying pan.

observist
observist topcommenter

Clearly he's a creep, but it's surprising that they'll launch a whole investigation and seize property of  a person suspected of videotaping in his own house.  It's also surprising that the 24-year-old stepdaughter would go to the police instead of just moving out.  But then again, 24 is the new 16.

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@observist It's easy to see why she didn't just move out. She's 24, she has a kid... connect the dots...

keepcensoringDO
keepcensoringDO

@observist I know the DO and it's commentators love "irresponsible speculation"(in addition to flagrant ignorance) but there is a simple way to get to the bottom of this.. and it's called READING.

Our handy internets will tell us if we just take a moment to look... and see that 

Texas Penal Code - Section 21.15. Improper Photography Or Visual Recording states:
§ 21.15. IMPROPER PHOTOGRAPHY OR VISUAL RECORDING. (a) In this section, "promote" has the meaning assigned by Section 43.21. (b) A person commits an offense if the person: (1) photographs or by videotape or other electronic means visually records another: (A) without the other person's consent; and (B) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or (2) knowing the character and content of the photograph or recording, promotes a photograph or visual recording described by Subdivision (1). (c) An offense under this section is a state jail felony. (d) If conduct that constitutes an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under any other law, the actor may be prosecuted under this section or the other law.

reverendvelvet
reverendvelvet

@observist So once she moved out it was up to her to determine if the video recordings were improper before going to the police? Her first call should have been to Joe Francis or Steven Hirsch of Vivid Entertainment and then go from there ???

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@observistDude, he was infringing on her privacy and probably doing it while she was naked (bathroom, bedroom). It doesn't matter if it's in his own house. This is illegal. 

observist
observist topcommenter

@alteredjustice @observist  Has a kid, but can't support herself... has to live with creepy stepdad... if only there was a way to get the creepy stepdad out of his own house...bingo!

observist
observist topcommenter

@kergo1spaceship @observist You guys are like kindergarteners. I clearly stated in both posts that i didn't condone his behavior, just that i was surprised at the law around video recording in your house. Think of all the nanny cams out there that are flirting with illigality, depending on whether or not the person recording is aroused or not. Better not think your babysitter is hot GuitarPlayer, else you're a felon. It's just common sense.

observist
observist topcommenter

@GuitarPlayer @observist It would seem there are limitations on the "right to privacy" between members of a family living in the same house.  What if a different stepmother was concerned that her adult stepdaughter was abusing her child in the bathroom or the bedroom and put all the same cameras in all the same locations and took all the same videos?  How is that legally different?  Is the criminality solely in the intent?  Could the child abuser have her stepmother put in jail for videotaping her?

To be clear, I'm not defending his behavior, but there are plenty despicable behaviors that are not criminal. 

worried
worried

@observist @alteredjustice@observist, you really don't know the whole facts of the story.  It amazes me that you can sit here are throw judgement against a young woman with a small child.  You have no idea what her situation is.  Not everyone who lives at home after having a child does not have the means to support themselves.  The key here is that it is illegal to video or record someone without their knowledge with the intent of sexual gratification.  Nanny cams are generally put in common areas of the home or the nursery, not the mothers bedroom and not her bathroom.  Those are extremely private areas that no one has the right to invade without permission.  The man continuously put the pens back in place and went to the extent of installing a motion detector ie. camera in her bedroom.  He deserves to go to jail for this, he was an officer of the law which if you ask me, makes it worse.

clevertrousers
clevertrousers

@observist @alteredjustice if only there was a way to pay the bills whilst step-dad was away.. eureka! the fed...

alteredjustice
alteredjustice

@observist The "with intent" part is important though. It's easy to surmise his intent here, constantly putting the pens in the bedroom and bathroom, as well as in the "motion detectors."

keepcensoringDO
keepcensoringDO

@observist @keepcensoringDO Now we're all just waiting on yours..

GuitarPlayer
GuitarPlayer

@observist @GuitarPlayer This is isn't West Virginia. A guy can't just record vids of somebody (probably nude) because 1) it's his house and 2) because he is related to them. 

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