EAGLE LAKE, FL -- Detectives are conducting a forensic investigation of Matthew Cothron’s computer after the Polk County firefighter admitted to recording a six- to ten-second video clip of a female paramedic in the shower at the Eagle Lake fire station.
Cothron was charged with video voyeurism for the October 13 incident.
Assistant Fire Chief Rick Parnell says the video was shot through the bottom left-hand corner of a bathroom window, where a few mini-blinds had broken off.
The woman noticed the glare of the lens in the window, Parnell said, and yelled for the person to go away.
“I made a mistake,” Cothron explained in a phone interview with Tampa Bay’s 10. “I was the stupid one who took [the video].”
That night, Cothron said, he left the fire house for his nightly ritual. He locked his car in the fire station parking lot, and started walking around the side of the building. He was planning to go to the Circle K across U.S. 17 for his usual energy drink and “a big cookie” like he does every night.
But before he could cross the street, Cothron explained, he saw a light in one of the windows and couldn’t resist the urge to press record.
In statements under oath, Parnell said, Cothron also admitted to cutting the hole in the mini-blinds himself.
For Parnell, the news was a tough blow. He’s been a mentor to Cothron since the 25-year-old first worked as a volunteer firefighter.
“This is one of those things that not in your wildest dreams you would ever imagine. Matt… was a very good employee up to this point. No indication whatsoever of anything like this,” Parnell said. He also indicated that Cothron’s employee file is completely clean.
Cothron is married with a young son. He says his wife walked out on him when she heard the news.
An arraignment is set for December 5.
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