Wheaton Man Gets 6 Months in Jail For Secretly Taping Naked Teen

Timothy Zak was also sentenced to four years of probation and must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Timothy Zak. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department.
Timothy Zak. Credit: Will County Sheriff's Department.
By Joseph Hosey

Timothy Zak may not have been planning to videotape his naked teenage stepdaughter when he set up a secret camera in the hallway of his then-Joliet home.

But when he caught her coming naked out of the bathroom to get a towel from the closet, he saved the images on his computer, prosecutors said.

The 10-second video clip that was later discovered by his wife will land Zak, 46, in the Will County jail for six months and put him on probation for four years. He also must register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Zak, who moved out of his family's west side home and over to Wheaton after his wife found the video in August, pleaded guilty in January to possession of child pornography and unlawfully recording a person under the age of 18. He faced up to seven years in prison for the child pornography charge alone.

Zak's attorney, Vincent Cornelius, pointed out that his client had no criminal record of any kind. Zak addressed Will County Judge Gerald Kinney and expressed his sorrow for recording his stepdaughter, who was 17 at the time she was taped.

But, in a letter read in part by Assistant State's Attorney Christopher Messina, Zak's teenage stepdaughter told of the impact the crime has had on her life.

"This defendant has taken my trust, dignity and self-confidence from me because I just don't consider myself pretty anymore," Messina read from the letter.

The teen also wrote how the episode has deprived her of dancing, which she loves to do.

Cornelius said Zak set up the camera in a hallway. The door to the bedroom Zak shared with his wife opened onto the hallway, as did doors to the stepdaughter's bedroom, a bathroom and a closet.

Judge Kinney ordered Zak to surrender in open court June 18 so he can start his sentence.

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Wrinks June 15, 2013 at 12:52 PM
Information left out of story...did Zak tell his wife he was putting up the cameras? What was the intention of the cameras? Or was this a covert operation known only to him?
Tom Koz June 15, 2013 at 02:16 PM
so, is it illegal to have a video security system in your home??
Charles Menchaca June 15, 2013 at 07:56 PM
@Wrinks and @Tom Koz, thanks for your comments. The actual use of the camera and/or security system is not itself illegal, but the crux of the prosecutors' case is that Zak saved the specific images/video clip of the naked girl on his computer.
Chirex June 18, 2013 at 11:24 PM
There is much information missing because these stories are cobbled together from one-sided police blotters and court records filed by complainants and prosecutors. The Patch network would have little to publish, or more precisely republish, if it didn't rely on this steady stream of "reporting" on the misfortunes of others to the delight of the pearl clutchers out there.
Chirex June 18, 2013 at 11:32 PM
One other thought...as this was in Will County--hardly a paragon of prosecutorial restraint--the wife/mother should consider herself lucky she was not implicated in the distribution of child pornography by her supposed discovery of the video footage.


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