NORWICH – Former teaching assistant and swim coach Jonathan Aikins was sentenced to one to three years in state prison Thursday for his unlawful surveillance of an unknown number of female students in a Norwich High School locker room over the course of six months in 2011.
In June, school administrators notified the Norwich Police Department of an audio/video recording device – a cell phone – found by students in a girls locker room. Following a police investigation, Aikins was taken into custody at his residence the afternoon of June 2. A search warrant, requested by the Chenango County District Attorney’s Office, allowed police to continue their investigation at the residence and Aikins was subsequently charged.
In October, Aikins pleaded guilty to one count of second degree unlawful surveillance – a class E felony – in an agreed upon disposition with the DA’s office. Originally charged with four counts of felony unlawful surveillance, Aikins could have faced up to 16 years in state prison if found guilty by a jury of his peers.
First Assistant District Attorney Stephen Dunshee, who handled the Aikins case, said the former swim coach had violated the trust of his athletes, students, co-workers and the community as a whole. Those recorded via the cell phone, a number that has never been released, will “never trust again,” he added.