ShareThis Page
News

Jeannette man admits making video of tanning salon clients

Rich Cholodofsky
| Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011

A Marine veteran pleaded guilty on Friday to charges that he sneaked into a crawl space above an East Huntingdon tanning salon and videotaped women and teenage girls as they undressed.

Jesse Charles Macklin, 29, of Jeannette will be sentenced in about three months on 218 counts that include burglary, distribution and possession of child pornography, sexual abuse of children, selling sexual materials, trespassing and invasion of privacy.

Throughout 2006, Macklin spent days peeping through a hole in a drop ceiling above the Sunkissed Tanning and Spa in Countryside Plaza, where he videotaped 54 woman, including 27 juveniles, police said. He then posted the tapes on "voyeuristic" websites, police said.

Macklin, who has been held in the county prison since his arrest in February, told Westmoreland County Judge Debra Pezze it was in his best interest to plead guilty.

Police first learned about the case in October 2007 when a 17-year-old Mt. Pleasant Area High School student reported that a video of her undressing at the salon was being circulated at school after it was lifted from the Internet.

In early 2010, another teen came forward with a similar story and police later searched the area above the salon.

Investigators found water bottles filled with urine and tobacco juice, along with videotape and cough-drop wrappers. During a second search in January, police discovered food wrappers and a receipt from which they were able to secure fingerprints.

Those prints were matched to Macklin, who eventually confessed that in early 2006 he cased the salon as a potential target for videotaping women. According to court records, Macklin told police that on about six occasions he spent more than 10 hours camped out above the salon with his video camera and later posted still pictures and video on the Internet.

Outside the courtroom, defense attorney Michael DeMatt said Macklin now is a different man.

"This was something that happened five years ago, and since then a lot has occurred. Just before this happened, he went to Iraq with the Marines. He had issues after he got back, but now he's managed to get his life back on track," DeMatt said.

Assistant District Attorney Karen Patterson said police viewed the videos in an attempt to identify every victim. But there could be other victims, she said.

"The investigation is ongoing," Patterson said.

Macklin's could face significant prison time.

In court yesterday, Patterson said standard sentencing guidelines call for Macklin to receive a minimum of nine to 16 months in jail per victim for each sex offense.

"We will be asking for consecutive sentences because of the number of the victims," Patterson said.

Macklin also will be subject to an assessment under Megan's Law to determine if he is a sexually violent predator.

Meanwhile, 35 lawsuits have been filed in Westmoreland County against the tanning salon and its owner. Those cases are pending.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.

click me