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Syracuse Staffer Pleads Not Guilty To Secretly Videotaping Athletes In Locker Room

Syracuse University locker room (Credit: SUathletics.com)

Syracuse University locker room (Credit: SUathletics.com)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — The former media director for Syracuse University’s athletic department has pleaded not guilty to charges that he secretly videotaped male athletes in the locker room.

Roger Springfield was arraigned Tuesday morning in Onondaga County Court on four counts of unlawful surveillance. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court Jan. 22 for a pretrial hearing.

Prosecutors said the charges stem from at least four secret videos that the 57-year-old made between the spring of 2010 and November 2012. Authorities said the videos were made in the locker rooms of the football team and the men’s lacrosse and soccer teams.

“This was not an accidental filming of nudity,” Onondaga County Assistant District Attorney Jeremy Cali told WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman. “He’s filming students in various stages of undress.”

Prosecutors said that between 2010 and 2012, roughly 108 football, soccer and lacrosse players were filmed by Springfield. But prosecutors said the spying may precede that time frame.

“There may some images, still images, that date back to 2002, 2003,” Cali said.

But Springfield’s lawyer said no crimes were committed.

“There’s no allegation that he ever was sexually involved with any persons,” James McGraw told Silverman.

But Cali said that is irrelevant because Springfield filmed the athletes for “his own personal use.”

Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said the investigation began after a Syracuse employee noticed “clearly inappropriate material” on an “exceptionally long” segment of locker-room footage on a video from Syracuse’s football game against South Florida on Oct. 27 in Tampa, Fla.

The district attorney said the employee brought it to the attention of his supervisor, the school notified Fitzpatrick’s office and Syracuse police in early December and an investigation was begun.

After reviewing the tapes, Springfield’s home and the media room at Manley Field House were searched. Springfield was questioned by detectives, suspended and then fired by the university on Dec. 13.

Fitzpatrick said the charges stemmed from videos that included the Louisville football game on Nov. 10, a soccer game last year and two lacrosse games in 2010.

Fitzpatrick said there is no evidence that Springfield disseminated the recordings or still images to anyone else. There also is no evidence that Springfield engaged in any inappropriate sexual contact with any of the athletes, the district attorney said.

Authorities said at least 10 other videos were found, including one made in Massachusetts and one shot in Akron, Ohio, but they fell outside the statute of limitations. Syracuse police are still investigating, police Chief Frank Fowler said.

Fitzpatrick said investigators quickly discounted the fact that the footage might have been accidental.

“You can see him setting up the camera, and it appears from the evidence uncovered that he placed the camera at waist level and used a piece of tape to conceal the red light on top of the camera indicating it was on and working,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is in no stretch of the imagination a victimless crime.”

Syracuse has reached out to all student-athletes involved to offer them support and assistance, said Kevin Quinn, senior vice president for public affairs.

Springfield was a sportscaster for 11 years at a Syracuse television station before he was hired as director of media properties and productions at the university. He was employed by the university for nearly a decade.

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