March 22, 2012
A Charlottesville man was convicted for felony peeping Thursday after he faced his latest victim in court. It took a jury only five minutes to find James Stearn guilty of that felony charge. The jury recommended that her serve three years in jail.
The verdict came down after damning evidence was provided in court, including a fingerprint outside of his victim's window. This was Stearn's 12th peeping charge in ten years and his second felony peeping conviction.
Plus, a previous court proceeding unveiled that Stearn had been collecting female panties, storing them in a laundry bag and sleeping on them as if it were a pillow. Sources say the panty-filled bag was found on his bed and it appears as if he had stolen the underwear from UVa-area laundromats.
Stearn has been convicted before of videotaping UVa students in their bedrooms and sunbathing in what's known on Grounds as "Mad Bowl."
His last victim testified that last summer, Stearn watched as the UVa Fourth year got dressed through the window of her basement apartment on John street. She caught him peeping twice before police arrested him.
"It changed the way that I lived in my house," said Stearn's victim Brette Harding. "I live in the basement apartment and I found that I couldn't spend time in my part of the house. I felt much safer upstairs. And I couldn't sleep in my own bed. I would end up staying on the couch or going and staying in my roommates room."
Virginia law was actually changed because of Stearn. The law changed making the third peeping tom charge a felony instead of a misdemeanor.