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TV show to spotlight Eugene video crime.

Byline: Rebecca Nolan The Register-Guard

Eugene's most prolific video voyeur will enter the national spotlight when television personality John Walsh, of "America's Most Wanted" fame, features William Joseph Green's obsessive stalking and taping of an estimated 125 young girls in an episode of his talk show.

Eugene police Detective Dan Braziel and a Eugene family whose home was invaded by the prying lens of Green's camera attended the taping in New York last week. The 30-minute segment, including some of Green's grainy footage, is expected to air before the end of this month.

The show airs locally weekdays at 7 p.m. on KEVU-TV.

Walsh, whose career began after his own son, Adam Walsh, was abducted and killed, has taken up video voyeurism as his cause, and he hopes to get legislation passed in all 50 states making it a criminal act. New York Gov. George Pataki signed a law into effect in June, thanks in part to Walsh's activism.

Green, now 54, videotaped his prey - mostly young girls and a few close adult friends - in their bedrooms without their knowledge over the course of at least four years. He is serving a 16-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to 22 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy, six counts of burglary and one count of first-degree sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl, the daughter of close friends.

Green's case is a good example of the evolution of a dangerous sex predator whose obsessive sexual behavior was escalating, Braziel said.

"He started off peeping; that led to videotaping and eventually touching," the detective said.

Though no one could deny that Green was dangerous, he got only half the sentence requested by prosecutors. The judge's reasoning: Green's privacy violations were misdemeanor crimes and no one was physically injured.

That's what prompted Debra Gwartney and her four daughters to say OK when the show's producers contacted them through Braziel. Green taped Gwartney's daughters as they went about their lives inside their home, unaware that their movements were being recorded, their private moments stolen through a camera lens. Investigators also found evidence that Green had been in Gwartney's home and had stolen photographs and the girls' panties.

"In the end, William Green is spending zero time in prison for videotaping 125 girls through their bedroom windows," Gwartney said.

An Oregon law passed in 1997 makes videotaping a person in a state of nudity without their consent a misdemeanor punishable by a maximum one year in prison and $5,000 fine. Green was given six months for each count, but he is serving the time concurrently with his sentence on the burglary and sex abuse charges.

Both Braziel and Gwartney said the law needs changing. Video voyeurs as prolific as Green should face felony charges, they said - the misdemeanor should become a felony based on the number or age of the victims, or the danger posed.

And there's another flaw in Oregon's law, Braziel said. It defines nudity as the private parts of a "post-pubescent human."

"That means in Oregon if someone is videotaping a child, it's not illegal except for the trespassing," Braziel said. In cases where children are filmed by someone with permission to be inside the home - a baby-sitter, for example - even trespassing does not apply, he said.

Gwartney said she and her daughters were disappointed that Green's case generated so little public outcry. Media coverage of the trial was understated, she said, and failed to shake Eugene parents out of their complacency.

About 95 girls captured in Green's crude footage still have not been identified, which means that 95 girls and their families have no idea that Green ever pressed his lens against their windows.

She hopes the show will focus on the legal issues surrounding such invasions of privacy, instead of the more sensational aspects of the crime. Gwartney said she's not sure how the segment, titled "My daughter was terrorized by a video voyeur," will turn out or what effect it will have on people's attitudes.

"It's a potent subject," she said. "We love technology in our culture but we're not willing to look at the dark side of that technology and its potential to harm children."

CAPTION(S):

Detective Dan Braziel looks at evidence from the case of William Joseph Green, who is in prison for videotaping girls without their knowledge.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; A detective and a family appear on the `John Walsh Show' to discuss the case of a man who taped girls in their homes
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Nov 12, 2003
Words:723
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