Utica – The Utica public works employee’s job with the city is up in the air after admitting in court Wednesday that he placed a camera under women’s skirts in a Walmart store last summer, officials said.
Michael Scotellaro, 54, of Utica, pleaded guilty in Oneida County Court to second-degree unlawful surveillance, a felony.
Scotellaro is due to be sentenced by Judge Barry M. Donalty on Wednesday, May 30, at which time he will be placed on 5 years of probation with six months of house arrest. Scotellaro could go to prison as a second felony offender if he commits any more felonies in the next 10 years, Donalty warned.
“It won’t happen,” Scotellaro said about any future crimes.
Scotellaro also was initially charged last October with six felony counts of possessing a sexual performance of a child after police reported that child pornography had been discovered on his home computer.
But in court, there was no mention of the alleged child pornography, which Scotellaro’s attorney had previously denied Scotellaro had any knowledge of.
“Prosecutors dismissed the whole pornography case in exchange for his guilty plea to the unlawful surveillance,” said Scotellaro’s attorney, Frank Policelli.
Although Scotellaro continues to work as a heavy equipment operator for the city, DPW officials said they are considering whether his guilty plea will affect his employment.
“We’re going to be having some discussions to see where we’re going to go with this, as far as what we may do with him,” city DPW Commissioner David Short said. “It’s relatively new to all of us, so we’re still trying to wrap our thoughts around all of this.”
In court, Scotellaro admitted that he followed women in the North Utica Walmart and placed a camera up their skirts last summer without their knowledge.
But because Scotellaro was not asked in court to specify any dates or times, it remains unclear whether he committed these acts while he was on city work time. Although prosecutors declined to comment on that issue, Short said it is something he will look into.
“Whatever the DA may give us to review, at that point we’ll see what evidence we have against him and then we’ll make a decision at that point,” Short said.
By pleading guilty, Scotellaro waived his right to have his case presented to a grand jury.