What to Know
- A West Chester University theater student is accused recording video of more than 20 women in restrooms across three students.
- John Yannuzzi faces a total of 151 counts of wire-tap violations, distribution of obscene materials and other charges.
- Investigators found that Yannuzzi had recorded women more than 50 times at theaters in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland.
A West Chester University theater student is accused of recording video of more than 20 women, some who he shared the stage with, in restrooms in three states.
Chester County District Attorney Tom Hogan fears that suspect Joshua Yannuzzi could have victimized more women.
“This defendant was a technological predator,” Hogan said in a Tuesday news release. “Using his ties in the theater community, he specifically targeted certain young women for hidden recordings in private places, all for his own sexual gratification. The victims, the victims’ friends and family, and the entire theater community have been betrayed.”
Yannuzzi, 24, was scheduled to perform as part of next month’s performance of “My Fair Lady” at West Chester.
On Oct. 10 a woman using a single-person restroom at the O.E. Bull Center on the West Chester campus discovered an iPhone taped to the bathroom, pointed toward the toilet and recording, Hogan’s office said. The woman turned the phone over to police.
Surveillance video revealed Yannuzzi entering the restroom before the woman and then checking the restroom after the woman left, authorities said.
A search of Yannuzzi’s phone and online records, along with interviews revealed that he “targeted young women he knew” through the theater community, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said. “He would hide his iPhone inside a bathroom and surreptitiously record women in various states of nudity.”
He also used a “Spy Camera” app to photograph women, investigators said.
Investigators found that Yannuzzi had recorded women more than 50 times at theaters from Philadelphia to Rising Sun, Maryland, to Reading, Pennsylvania, to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, over the past two years. In the process he inadvertently captured himself on camera at least two times, authorities said.
He posted at least one video online where it was viewed more than 1,000 times, Hogan said.
Yannuzzi faces a total of 151 counts of wire-tap violations, distribution of obscene materials, criminal use of a communication facility and invasion of privacy. It was unclear if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf and he didn’t respond to NBC10’s request for comment.
West Chester banned Yannuzzi from campus. The university applauded the actions of the student who came forward after finding the phone.
“The University finds the invasion of privacy deeply disturbing and takes the matter seriously,” West Chester said in a statement. “As such, WCU is cooperating fully with the County District Attorney's Office and is collaborating in an investigation that is being conducted with urgency. University police and security will be increasing patrols in campus buildings. We encourage all members of our community to do the same, in order to maintain the safety of this campus.”
Hogan asked anyone with information to contact Chester County Det. Robert Balchunis at 610-344-6866.
“We need other victims to come forward to help us prosecute this defendant,” Hogan said. “Anybody who had contact with Josh Yannuzzi in theater productions or living arrangements is a potential victim.”