Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Former Fed Law Clerk and Peeping Tom Off to Jail

Daniel Eisman, a lawyer and former law clerk to a federal judge was sentenced to 5 years in prison for voyeurism and child porn.  This striking account is from reporter Lisa Demer at the Anchorage Daily News which provided the account of Rachel Yould's fraud conviction and sentencing last year.  Here's Ms. Demer's account of Eismans's sentencing:

"Daniel Eisman, a former law clerk to a federal judge in Anchorage, was sentenced Thursday to four years in prison after pleading guilty to indecent viewing and child pornography charges. At the sentencing hearing before state Superior Court Judge Gregory Miller, one victim testified by phone and another attended in person, telling the judge about the pain and sense of betrayal inflicted by Eisman. The indecency charge relates to secret cameras he placed around his home and in a cabin.

In all, prosecutor Roman Kalytiak identified six victims by their initials. Victims told the judge at least a dozen people can be seen on the videos in various states of undress or even using the bathroom.  'The people in these videos are not strangers,' Kalytiak said. 'These are people who were friends of the defendant's.' Some were co-workers.

Eisman clerked for U.S. District Judge Timothy Burgess (a 2005 Bush appointee,) as did the victim who stumbled across the videos last May on a hard drive connected to his home computer. She had permission to use the computer and was apparently looking for winter carnival pictures from Fur Rondy, Kalytiak said.   She found Eisman's secret instead.
The co-worker was a frequent babysitter for Eisman and his wife. She attended the birth of their child. She spent holidays with Eisman, his wife and his parents. He was one of her best friends, she said in telephone testimony.  The woman was babysitting for Eisman's family on May 5, 2010, when she came across a file with her name on it.

'On that date, I learned that Dan had been videotaping me, recording me in the most vulnerable moments every chance he got,' she said.

Eisman, who is 36, admitted setting up cameras in his guest bathroom, guest bedroom and other rooms in his home and in a family cabin in an effort to secretly peep on men and women. The cameras were hidden in a lamp, picture frame and carbon monoxide detector, among other places.

The coworker said the videos showed her undressing in various rooms over an eight-month period. At least once, Eisman encouraged her to take a shower in the guest bathroom.

She said she suspected he had been making his secret videos of his friends' private moments for at least five years. He had amassed an enormous collection, she said. She said she was particularly concerned by the hundreds of downloaded child pornography images found on the computer. They were mixed with photos of his own baby boy so that he could look at his son, then child porn, one image after another.  'I fear that if left unchecked these boundaries may have become blurred in his real life as well,' she said. 'I am deeply concerned for the safety of his now 1-year-old boy.'

She turned the hard drive over to Anchorage police, who obtained a search warrant for it, Kalytiak said.  The coworker testified that she's been devastated since finding the videos last May, not only because of the loss of her own privacy, but because of the hurt everyone suffered, including Eisman's wife -- her friend.

'It's a horrible thing to have to turn your former best friend into the police,' she told the judge. But it was the right thing to do, she said.

A second victim also testified, a man who said he too was a co-worker and friend of Eisman.  'I want to speak for the untold victims who are not here, because they are pillars of our community and their reputation is so easily destroyed by something of this nature,' the second victim told the judge.

Eisman used many ruses to entice women into his home, the man told the judge. He hosted parties. He used his own child to lure baby sitters to his cameras. He arranged his videos by name and labeled some as 'good.'

None of the videos were ever posted on the Internet, his defense lawyer, Andrew Lambert, told the judge. The defense and prosecution worked out a plea deal that is severe, but fair, he said, urging the judge to accept it.   When it came to Eisman's turn, he admitted that 'what I did was simply wrong.'  He said he's already getting help from a psychologist.

'As for the victims, it's more than a bit ironic because we were truly friends before I betrayed their trust,"'Eisman said in court. 'No words will give you back what I took. You have every right to be angry, every right to want to lash out, every right to hate me[. . . ]  What I did didn't stem from malice. It stemmed from curiosity, addiction, and a failure of my moral compass. But ultimately the fault is my own.'

Eisman said he was grateful that his wife had supported him throughout the ordeal, though the marriage is now ending. Maybe his victims will take solace in what he's losing: 'A job, a career, my wife, my law license and my reputation.'  The worst of it will be the lost years with his son, he said, breaking into tears as he talked about the 'messy meal times, play times in the park and a dozen other firsts."'

In pronouncing the sentence, Judge Miller paraphrased a psychologist in town who says it takes 20 years to build up a reputation and 20 minutes to tear it down.

'And you have succeeded like no one I've ever seen before in doing that,' Miller told Eisman.

In addition to the prison time, Eisman must register for 15 years as a sex offender and will be on probation for five years.  Eisman walked out of the courtroom, his hands behind his back his shackles, to begin his prison sentence."
Mr. Eisman worked for U.S. District Judge who was a former U.S. Attorney (Hon. Timothy M. Burgess)--of course, Eisman has no explanation for his acts. Those acts are inexplicable as are most bad acts by those of us who know better.

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