A former Legal Aid Society lawyer pleaded guilty Wednesday to illegally using a hidden video camera to spy on female co-workers as they changed clothes in their offices.
Peter Barta, 32, of Queens, used a camera hidden in a clock to videotape five co-workers in the public defense agency's Manhattan offices, recording at least one woman with her breasts and buttocks bared.
The women told police they regularly changed clothes in their offices before and after work.
Barta, 32, pleaded guilty to one count of unlawful surveillance, a felony, in exchange for a conditional discharge. The case will be dismissed and sealed after he completes a year of counseling. He had faced up to four years in prison if he had been convicted at trial.
Prosecutors said police recovered video captured by Barta's camera. They also had images taken by another Legal Aid lawyer, showing Barta entering one woman's office and removing the surveillance clock-camera.
Prosecutors said investigators also found a VHS tape in Barta's home of a woman who was virtually nude. They said he videotaped the women between May 2004 and October 2006.
The defendant's lawyer, Henry Putzel, said any lawyer convicted of a felony is automatically disbarred.
Barta attended Georgetown University law school. He started working at Legal Aid on June 18, 2001, and resigned on Nov. 3, 2006, when he was arrested.
State Supreme Court Justice Michael Obus will sentence Barta on Dec. 3.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.