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Peeping Tom wants City of San Rafael to return his porn Seized in 2001 Investigation

SAN RAFAEL, California – A convicted peeping Tom is demanding that the city of San Rafael return more than 700 pornographic videos and magazines that authorities seized during a 2001 investigation into his secret videotaping of a 45-year-old woman and 17-year-old girl in their apartments.

In a lawsuit filed in March, Healdsburg resident Dennis Saunders, 59, argues that the collection of more than 500 videos and 250 magazines is legal and that the city should give it back to him. He is not seeking the peeping Tom videos he recorded.

Saunders was released Aug. 25 after serving about five years in jail for 44 misdemeanor peeping Tom counts. He was arrested in November 2001 and convicted the next year, said his attorney, Jon Rankin, after he secretly videotaped the victims in their San Rafael apartment complex.

Saunders was the construction manager at the complex at the time. A co-worker figured out what he was doing and told the teenage girl’s father, Rankin said. The videotapes were found in a toolbox that only Saunders had access to, the attorney said.

Saunders was also charged with several felony counts, including residential burglary, but the jury hung on those charges, Rankin said.

A judge has given San Rafael officials until Oct. 30 to prove that they have authority to keep Saunders’ pornographic tapes and magazines. City officials have told Rankin that they do not feel comfortable releasing the pornography without a court order, the attorney said. Officials could not be reached for comment.

Rankin said the porn collection could be worth more than $12,000, and that he will go to trial to get it back for Saunders if he has to.

“Why is the city of San Rafael spending money on lawyers to say he can’t have back what you could go down to the corner store and buy?” Rankin said. “He’s not going to hurt anybody with these porno movies – it’s not like they are giving him a telescope.”

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