PALM HARBOR — Pinellas County Sheriff’s detectives arrested a 40-year-old Palm Harbor man about 2 p.m. May 12 in connection with video recordings done in June 2011.
Thomas John Kovack was booked into the county jail and charged with 10 counts of video voyeurism. Bail was set at $100,000.
Detectives with Pinellas County’s Crimes Against Children Unit found out on Aug. 22, 2019, that the Pasco County Sheriff's Office was investigating Kovack after identifying videos on a memory card in Kovack's possession that had been taken in Pinellas County.
Pinellas detectives then began an investigation and determined that Kovack had been employed as a teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School, 2323 Little Road in New Port Richey, from 2011 until 2012. As a journalism teacher, he was responsible for "The Hoofbeat" student newspaper.
Detectives said Kovack had regularly texted his journalism students while out of school and had “gained their trust” during the school year.
According to detectives, Kovack set up a motion-activated camera in his bathroom and in June 2011, invited several students to his Palm Harbor residence for a pool party. They said Kovack provided the students with alcohol and offered for them to spend the night.
Detectives said that none of the students had stayed the night; however, several were captured on the hidden camera without their knowledge or consent.
Detectives interviewed Kovack on May 12 and he reportedly admitted to setting up the camera in his bathroom. Detectives say he told them he had recorded his students and stored the videos on the SD drive that was later obtained by Pasco County detectives.