Former SU athletics employee Springfield arraigned on charges of unlawful surveillance; accused of recording locker room videos of SU athletes
UPDATED: Jan. 15, 10:54 p.m.
Roger Springfield, former Syracuse University Athletics director of media properties and production, was arraigned in court Tuesday morning on an indictment charging him with four counts of unlawful surveillance. He is accused of videotaping male SU athletes in the Carrier Dome locker rooms.
He was arraigned for unlawful surveillance in the second degree, Onondaga County District Attorney William Fitzpatrick said at a press conference Tuesday. Springfield was released on his own recognizance. A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Jan. 22, though Springfield will not attend, said James McGraw, Springfield’s defense attorney.
SU Department of Public Safety Chief Tony Callisto and Syracuse Police Department Chief Frank Fowler joined Fitzpatrick at the press conference.
Springfield, a former sportscaster whose real name is Roger Cahak, is presumed innocent and has pleaded not guilty, Fitzpatrick said. Springfield awaits trial.
Springfield has been indicted under a law that was put into effect Aug. 11, 2003, Fitzpatrick said. Fitzpatrick estimated the earliest recordings were from 2002 or 2003, and of the 14 uncovered videos, which involve 108 victims, four tapes fall within the statute of limitations. Three of the 14 videos occurred out of state in Tampa, Fla., Akron, Ohio and Massachusetts, Fitzpatrick said.
Each of the four counts is a Class E felony, punishable by up to four years in jail, Fitzpatrick said.
The surreptitious recordings were discovered Dec. 6 when an SU media production staff member was examining footage from the Oct. 27 football game between Syracuse and South Florida, Fitzpatrick said.
The staff member noticed that a portion of the tape labeled “Post-game locker room” appeared to be exceptionally long, and upon review, discovered inappropriate material and brought it to his supervisors’ attention, Fitzpatrick said.
A search warrant authorizing the search of Springfield’s home, as well as his office and the media room at Manley Field House, was signed Dec. 11, Fitzpatrick said. SU officials suspended Springfield after the Dec. 12 search and fired him Dec. 13.
The first charge of unlawful surveillance relates to the Nov. 10 football game between SU and Louisville, Fitzpatrick said. The recording showed several athletes exiting the shower area.
The second charge pertains to a 2010 lacrosse game, with 14 victims identified in that tape. The third charge, for which 11 victims have been identified, involves the men’s soccer team in spring 2010, Fitzpatrick said.
The fourth charge involves a video of the soccer team in April 2012, with 11 victims identified and six unidentified as of yet, Fitzpatrick said.
Despite the criminal charges, McGraw said he believes no conviction will come from this.
Kevin Quinn, SU senior vice president for public affairs, said in a statement Tuesday that the university’s priority has been and will continue to be the well-being of its student-athletes, and that SU is appreciative of the DA and SPD’s work.
“We are in direct contact with all of these specific current and former student-athletes, and the University is reaching out to offer them full access to appropriate support and assistance during this time,” Quinn said in the statement.
Daryl Gross, SU’s athletic director, said in a statement that when SU Athletics became aware of the issue, action was taken immediately and the matter was referred to law enforcement authorities.
“We have reached out to our student-athletes and are offering support and any assistance we can,” Gross said. “Moving forward, we are going to keep focused on continuing the successful momentum our student-athletes and teams have had in each of our sports across the board.”
The investigation is still continuing, Fitzpatrick said at the press conference, but at this point there is no evidence that Springfield disseminated any of the material or has had any sexual contact with the athletes.
“There should be no ongoing investigation,” McGraw said. “They’ve looked under every single leaf and rock and they’ve found nothing more than what they’ve charged him with. There’s no evidence of any sexual misbehavior or anything else. He’s married, he’s got three children, he’s led an exemplary life, he’s never been in trouble.”
McGraw said investigators could go on and on if they’d like to, but they will find nothing.
Officials from the DA’s office, SU and SPD are working to identify all 108 victims, Fitzpatrick said.
“From the perspective of Syracuse University, the most important aspect of this is the specific students,” DPS Chief Callisto said at the press conference. “We are reaching out directly to each of the students and offering the full range of services that are available through our student affairs division to assist those students in any way that we can.”
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