PA veteran going to jail for Jamaica videotaping

By Ayala Ben-Yehuda

A former Port Authority police officer was sentenced to three years’ probation for videotaping an 11-year-old Jamaica girl taking a shower, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said Tuesday.

Russell Bass, 42, a Hempstead, L.I. resident, pleaded guilty to attempted unlawful surveillance Jan. 6 and has begun two years of sex offender treatment under the terms of his probation, Brown said in a news release.

Bass, a 15-year Port Authority veteran, resigned from his job Jan. 2 and was last assigned to Kennedy Airport, said Brown.

Bass will receive additional psychotherapy after he completes his treatment, said Brown.

“The defendant has admitted his guilt and acknowledged that he engaged in conduct that threatened the innocence of a child and caused her to suffer emotional distress,” said Brown.

“Additionally, the defendant has been directed to have no contact with the victim or her family.”

Bass was charged with videotaping an 11-year-old girl taking a shower in her Jamaica home early in the morning on Oct. 10, 2003.

The girl saw a hand holding a video camera at the partially opened bathroom window, said Brown. A relative confronted Bass outside and the police officer fled, dropping a bag containing a video camera and video tapes, said Brown.

After the officer’s arrest, Brown said the tapes showed scenes of the girl’s sister and mother showering or undressing over a two-week period in addition to the 11-year-old.

Bass was credited in May 1997 with finding a 10-year-old boy with Downs Syndrome walking around Kennedy Airport after he wandered away from his South Ozone Park school.

Bass was the first person to be prosecuted in Queens under a law that took effect last August establishing various penalties for video surveillance.

Reach reporter Ayala Ben-Yehuda by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 146.

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