The Veterans Pittsburgh Healthcare System said Tuesday it is taking steps to fire a nurse accused of using a spotting scope to spy on University of Pittsburgh dormitories from the VA parking garage in Oakland.
Paul May, 56, of Lawrence County's Enon Valley is charged with loitering and prowling, possessing instruments of crime and invasion of privacy, all misdemeanors, according to court records.
VA police arrested him Monday night as he allegedly used the scope to look into dorm rooms. A spotting scope is a small, portable telescope.
“This behavior is not in line with the norms and values of the VA, and as a result the employee has been suspended from all duties,” VA Press Secretary Curt Cashour said in a statement. “VA has initiated the process for removal from employment right away.”
VA police said in a criminal complaint that they initially observed May in a blue Ford SUV parked in the Oakland garage and using the scope to look into the dorms Thursday night. Officers said they took pictures of May and placed a surveillance camera in the area he was parked. Later that night, the officers said they again watched him use the scope to view the dorms.
About 6:30 p.m. Monday, the officers returned to the garage in an unmarked car and again said they found May looking at the dorms through a scope. This time they arrested him.
The complaint said that May watched Pitt students who were “in a state of full or partial nudity.”
“Secretary (David) Shulkin has made clear that VA will hold employees accountable when they fail to live up to the high standards taxpayers expect from us,” Cashour said. “And that's exactly what we're doing in this case.”
Pitt spokesman Joe Miksch said, “We are glad that a suspect has been apprehended and appreciate the work of the VA police.”
May was released from Allegheny County Jail after posting $10,000 bail, court records show.
In a tweet, Pitt said, “The University is cooperating with VAPD to determine if students may have been impacted and is working to directly inform the residents of nearby residence halls of the investigation.”