By Brian Maass
DENVER (CBS4)– Calling what Thanh Ta did “horrible, horrendous,” a Denver District Court Judge on Friday sentenced the former state worker to 12 years in prison followed by decades of sex offender probation for taking “upskirt” pictures of his female co- workers.
“It’s always in the back of my mind,” said one of his former CDE colleagues who never knew that Ta was secretly taking photos and videos up her skirt. During the sentencing, she called what he did to her and other women “revolting… unacceptable. I want Thanh to go to jail for a very long time.”
In April, a Denver jury found Ta guilty of stalking and invasion of privacy for taking thousands of photos and videos up the dresses of his colleagues and of other women in public places.
Prosecutors say Ta took thousands of “upskirt” photos with his iPhone beginning in 2011, cataloging photos of his co-workers by name. Other, non-employee, names were listed in separate files.
Many of his victims showed up in court, hearing after hearing, to make sure their voices were heard.
Prosecutor Ryan Brackley said Friday, ”The volume of Mr. Ta’s conduct was overwhelming. It almost appears he was committing a crime every single day while he was out there with his cellphone and his camera. Upskirting for whatever purpose, it’s a crime, it’s a serious crime and people will go to prison.”
Another of his victims told the Judge that the upskirt photos taken of her impacted her family and her marriage. She said she had been “victimized day in and day out for years.” The CDE employee went on to say that after learning of Ta’s photos of her, she got rid of all her professional work clothes. She said she felt shame and depression and was in counseling.
Yet another CDE employee told the Judge she now feels “anxiety in public places. I think about the defendant when I’m getting dressed in the morning”.
David Juarez, Ta’s attorney, called Ta a voyeur who had an illness and was “addicted to that kind of behavior.”
Ta’s sister told the Judge her brother was kind hearted and caring and that what he did was not “the Thanh we know.”
In a statement from Ta read by his attorney, he apologized to his victims and his family and said he feels intense remorse and shame. “I am sorry.”
Prosecutor Carlos Rueda dismissed the apology saying ,”It doesn’t mean much because the victims will suffer for years from his actions.”
Following the hearing, the former CDE employees seemed content that Ta would be going to prison, but one of them said she now distrusts men, had dropped out of school and was moving back in with her family. She called Ta, ”The most terrifying type of criminal.”