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Florida high school teacher charged with secretly recording students at pool party

The teacher was already facing a 2018 charge of video voyeurism after allegedly filming a girl changing in a classroom closet.

A Florida teacher was arrested on charges of video voyeurism on Tuesday for allegedly setting up a camera in his bathroom after inviting students over for a 2011 pool party. The same teacher is facing a charge for a separate incident in 2018 where he allegedly secretly recorded a student while she was changing for yearbook photos.

Thomas John Kovack, 41, told detectives he filmed several of his students at the time in his bathroom during a party in June 2011, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. Kovack allegedly invited a number of his journalism students to his Palm Harbor residence for a pool party while he was a teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School.

Thomas John Kovack.
Thomas John Kovack.Pinellas County Sheriff's Office

“Kovack provided the students with alcohol and offered for them to spend the night,” the sheriff’s office said. “While no students stayed the night, several were captured on the hidden camera without their knowledge or consent.”

Kovack was arrested by the neighboring Pasco County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday, where he told detectives he stored the videos on a hard drive.

In 2018, a student said she was changing for yearbook photos in a classroom closet when she found an iPhone filming her. She told authorities she saw Kovack setting up the phone to record after watching the video from the beginning, according to a complaint affidavit.

Kovack, then a teacher at Fivay High School, told authorities he knew the student would be undressing and that he did set up the phone to record her. He also said that he regretted his actions and deleted the video, according to the affidavit.

Court records show Kovack’s 2018 case for video voyeurism in Pasco County is still pending. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Kovack was in custody at the Pinellas County Jail as of Wednesday afternoon, according to inmate records. He had an initial appearance in court for the 10 charges stemming from the 2011 pool party on Wednesday and is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing at 10 a.m. May 19.