Public Safety

Former Cornell College janitor who took photos of partially nude basketball players gets 2 years

Jeffrey Pospisil looks to his family before being taken into custody during his sentencing in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Pospisil, a former janitor at Cornell College, previously submitted a written plea of guilty and was sentenced Friday for covertly taping women basketball players in the locker room. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Jeffrey Pospisil looks to his family before being taken into custody during his sentencing in Linn County District Court in Cedar Rapids on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. Pospisil, a former janitor at Cornell College, previously submitted a written plea of guilty and was sentenced Friday for covertly taping women basketball players in the locker room. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — “This is something you don’t get over,” a mother said Friday during the sentencing of a former janitor at Cornell College who covertly took photos of her daughter and another woman in the locker room.

The mother, in her victim impact statement, called Jeffrey Pospisil a “pedophile” and said this has ruined her daughter’s life and their family’s lives. Her daughter was depressed, didn’t want to be touched and did horribly in college after this happened Feb. 1.

“Every day he is in jail, another girl will be safe,” the mother, who lives in Washington state, said while asking the judge to sentence Pospisil, 46, of Marion, to the maximum prison term. “I’m hoping people here can understand this is horrific.”

Pospisil pleaded guilty to two counts of invasion of privacy, aggravated misdemeanors. In the plea, he admitted to taking photos of the women who were partially naked as they were dressing for basketball practice in the locker room.

Assistant Linn County Attorney Cory Speth asked that Pospisil serve two years in prison because of the nature of the charges and that he victimized two women, which shows a “pattern of behavior.”

Joshua Irwin, Pospisil’s lawyer, asked for a deferred judgment and one year of probation, saying Pospisil has taken responsibility for his actions.

During the hearing, Pospisil apologized to the victims and their families.

Sixth Judicial Associate District Judge Russell Keast said while he considered the sex offender risk assessment, stating Pospisil was a low risk to reoffend, he couldn’t ignore his actions, which were selfish and predatory. Pospisil took covert photos of women, showing a “lack of respect to others, and it happened more than once.”

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Keast sentenced him to two years on each count, but ran the sentences concurrently for a total of two years in prison.

Pospisil will be required to be on the sex offender registry for 10 years and serve a special parole for 10 years because this is a sex offense.

A search warrant affidavit showed the two women told Mount Vernon police that Pospisil, a janitor at the time, was recording them or taking photos with a cellphone that day.

One woman said as she was going into the locker room she noticed, out of the “corner of her eye,” a cellphone sticking out from a hallway wall. She told the other women in the locker room, and they told the intruder to go away.

This woman also described the phone with a camouflaged case with orange markings, which later was identified as belonging to Pospisil.

The other woman, also in the locker room, said she saw a “thick” black boot sticking out from behind the wall and a sleeve of a camouflaged shirt, according to the search warrant.

After the incident, this woman saw one of the janitors wearing the same shirt. Campus safety officers later identified the janitor as Pospisil, according to court documents.

Mark Winder, Cornell’s campus safety director, interviewed the students and Pospisil, according to the search warrant.

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Pospisil told him he was in the locker room that day to fill up a bucket of hot water to sanitize wrestling mats, and he was sending text messages while inside the locker room.

Pospisil was a contracted custodial employee and not part of the college faculty or staff, Cornell College officials said in March, after he was charged.

The warrant showed Pospisil took 100 photos but not all met the elements of invasion of privacy — showing partial nudity.

Pospisil was fired in February and also barred from coming onto Cornell property.

Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com

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