Jeannette man admits making video of tanning salon clients
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.