UNITY, Maine — Police arrested a suspected Peeping Tom on Thursday and charged him with burglary and the theft of ladies’ undergarments.
A parent of the arrested man, however, said Saturday that her son has severe learning disabilities and she believes he likely did not comprehend the seriousness of his behavior.
After a Windemere Lane woman reported early Thursday morning that someone was peeping in her bedroom window, Waldo County Sheriff’s Department personnel followed the tracks through fresh snow straight to the Unity apartment of 38-year-old Scott Dodge.
Sgt. Dale Brown and Deputy David Mushrall that morning charged Dodge with invasion of privacy, criminal trespass and disorderly conduct. He was not arrested then, but the police kept digging, according to Chief Deputy Robert Keating.
“We had been having some previous complaints in that neighborhood,” Keating said Friday.
Detectives Jason Bosco and Matthew Curtis returned to Dodge’s Unity apartment later Thursday to follow up on two earlier complaints of burglary on Windemere Lane. On Aug. 2, someone broke a windowpane of a home and rummaged through bureaus in women’s bedrooms, specifically looking for women’s underwear, Keating said. On Sept. 8, another home was burglarized and a woman living there discovered that someone had pawed through and stolen ladies’ underwear.
The detectives recovered one article stolen in the September burglary and arrested Dodge. He was charged with aggravated criminal trespass, burglary and theft and transported to the Waldo County Jail in Belfast.
Dodge has since been released on bail, according to a jail official.
“We’re continuing to investigate,” Keating said. “We have been receiving complaints for several months about Peeping Toms. He’s certainly a prime suspect.”
But Dodge’s mother, Terri Dodge, said Saturday afternoon that her son has been diagnosed with delayed mental maturation, estimating he has the intellectual and emotional capacity of a 12- or 13-year-old. Scott Dodge has never been able to learn to read or perform basic math skills and was in special education programs throughout school, she said.
He had no previous serious run-ins with the law, Terri Dodge said
“He knows right from wrong, but in his mind he doesn’t perceive it as a serious thing like we would as adults,” she said.
Terri Dodge said she and Scott’s father, William Dodge, who is the pastor of the Unity Pentecostal Church, recently decided before last week’s events that their son could no longer live alone. But Dodge said she believes her son must “own up” to his actions, which she acknowledged were troubling and serious.
“Our child has a problem and we are going to do everything in our power to help our son,” she said.
BDN staff writer Kevin Miller contributed to this report.