By JOHN KEKIS, AP Sports Writer
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ The former media director for Syracuse University’s athletic department pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges he secretly videotaped male athletes in the locker room.
Roger Springfield was arraigned in Onondaga County Court on four counts of unlawful surveillance. He was released on his own recognizance and ordered to return to court Jan. 22 for a pretrial hearing.
Prosecutors said the charges stem from at least four secret videos the 57-year-old Springfield made between the spring of 2010 and November 2012 in the Carrier Dome. Authorities said Springfield made the videos in the locker rooms of the football team and the men’s lacrosse and soccer teams.
Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said the investigation began after a Syracuse employee noticed “clearly inappropriate material” on an “exceptionally long” segment of locker-room footage on a video from Syracuse’s football game against South Florida on Oct. 27 in Tampa, Fla.
The district attorney said the employee brought it to the attention of his supervisor, the school notified Fitzpatrick’s office and Syracuse police in early December, and an investigation was begun.
After reviewing the tapes, Springfield’s home and the media room at Manley Field House were searched. Springfield was questioned by detectives, suspended and then fired by the university on Dec. 13.
Fitzpatrick said the charges stemmed from videos that included the Louisville football game on Nov. 10, a soccer game last year and two lacrosse games in 2010. Authorities have identified 108 victims, all of them male athletes.
Fitzpatrick said there is no evidence that Springfield disseminated the recordings or still images to anyone else. There also is no evidence that Springfield engaged in any inappropriate sexual contact with any of the athletes, the district attorney said.
Authorities said at least 10 other videos were found, including one made in Massachusetts and one shot in Akron, Ohio, but they fell outside the statute of limitations. Syracuse police are still investigating, police Chief Frank Fowler said.
Fitzpatrick said investigators quickly discounted the fact that the footage might have been accidental.
“You can see him setting up the camera, and it appears from the evidence uncovered that he placed the camera at waist level and used a piece of tape to conceal the red light on top of the camera indicating it was on and working,” Fitzpatrick said. “This is in no stretch of the imagination a victimless crime.”
Syracuse has reached out to all student-athletes involved to offer them support and assistance, said Kevin Quinn, senior vice president for public affairs.
Springfield was a sportscaster for 11 years at a Syracuse television station before he was hired as director of media properties and productions at the university. He was employed by the university for nearly a decade.
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