Potty peeper sent to prison
A sex offender who took hundreds of pictures or videos of women inside a portable toilet along the Colorado Riverfront Trail was sentenced Monday to 54 months in prison, the harshest term allowed under a plea agreement.
Joshua Vohs, 37, had argued through his public defender that society would be better served by a sentence to Mesa County Community Corrections, ensuring he had a shot at treatment while serving his relatively short sentence. Vohs is unlikely to be treated in the Colorado Department of Corrections, but will likely be paroled in something less than 54 months, public defender Matt Mulch argued.
Mesa County District Judge Valerie Robison wasn’t persuaded.
“It’s not something I’m willing to take a chance on,” Robison said of a community-based sentence.
Vohs was credited with already serving 179 days in the Mesa County Jail. The 54-month prison term was the maximum possible after Vohs pleaded guilty in February to three counts of invasion of privacy for sexual gratification as second offense, a class-6 felony. The District Attorney’s Office agreed to dismiss 22 identical charges.
Twenty-five women who were identified in charging documents as Jane Doe were known victims in the case. Grand Junction police found 175 photos and 25 videos of women using the toilet when a search warrant was executed at Vohs’ home in August.
“The bulk of these women don’t even know they’ve been victimized,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Trish Mahre told the judge.
Vohs was arrested after confessing in an interview to placing a camera inside a toilet at the Junior Service League Park, 2383 Redlands Parkway, and downloading images to his home computer, according to an arrest affidavit said. Michael Atencio and his 13-year-old daughter, Hannah, tipped off police to the camera on Oct. 11, 2013, after spotting Vohs fleeing the toilet with a camera.
It was Hannah Atencio who first observed Vohs, then told her parents.
Vohs’ actions may have continued unchecked if not for the girl, the judge noted.
“How awesome of you to see that and go tell your folks,” Robison told the girl, who attended Monday’s hearing.
Officers found a plastic cup mounted inside the side of the toilet. In an interview, Vohs admitted placing the camera on several occasions inside the toilet and said he’d often sit in the parking lot for hours.
Vohs was released from the Mesa County Jail on Aug. 4, 2013, relating to a June 2012 guilty plea to misdemeanor unlawful sexual contact.
He was arrested July 24, 2011, by Grand Junction police as he tried to leave City Market, 200 Rood Ave., after security reported a man following women around before approaching them from behind and extending a foot under their dresses or skirts.
A digital memory card in Vohs’ camera had 11 videos, showing private parts or undergarments.
Vohs was also arrested in 2006 in Crested Butte for identical behavior. He pleaded guilty to attempted invasion of privacy and was sentenced to one year unsupervised probation after he was caught with a recording device strapped on a foot with duct tape.
Vohs told police he was trying to film from a dog’s perspective while fishing.
“I feel bad for what I’ve done,” Vohs told Robison Monday. “I know those are hollow words.”