Defendant denies secret phone videos

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A 40-year-old Kalispell man pleaded not guilty Thursday in Flathead District Court to two counts of felony sexual assault of children.

Jeff Evinrude is alleged to have surreptitiously taken cellphone video recordings of two girls, 12 and 15, while they were taking showers.

According to a court document, the 12-year-old reported that on May 13, 2012, Evinrude told her to go take a shower. He entered the bathroom first and closed the door, and when he left, the girl went in and took her shower.

The girl said that when she exited the shower, she picked up a towel that was on the floor and noticed Evinrude’s phone was wrapped in it. The phone allegedly had been recording video for about nine minutes.

Evinrude then reportedly said he needed the plunger, so the girl put the phone back in the towel and put it on the floor. When Evinrude came in, the document states, he grabbed the plunger and the towel with the phone wrapped inside.

The girl said that when she got another towel and left the bathroom, Evinrude “looked at her funny.” She told him she had forgotten her clean clothes and needed to go talk to her mom so she could tell her mother what had happened. Her mother then confronted Evinrude and checked his phone.

In an interview with detectives, the girl’s older sister related a similar incident in late 2009.

The older sister reported nearly identical circumstances, getting out of the shower and finding Evinrude’s phone inside a hand towel on the counter. When she saw it was recording, she stopped it and reviewed it, finding footage of herself getting into the shower, also finding another video of the phone being positioned in a slotted basket near the shower.

Evinrude allegedly admitted that his cellphone was in the bathroom when the younger girl was taking a shower but denied it had been recording video. He also claimed no knowledge of how it got on the bathroom floor.

“Either I set it on the floor or it fell out, I’m not sure,” Evinrude allegedly told a detective.

He also reportedly acknowledged there had been a similar allegation involving the older girl.

The girls’ mother told a detective about confronting Evinrude, saying that by the time she checked his phone there was only a car racing video on it. She said she had confronted him about the prior incident, at which point he had told her he didn’t know why his phone was in the bathroom, that he must have set it on the counter and hit the touch screen by accident.

If convicted of both charges, Evinrude faces between four years and life plus 100 years in prison, with the restriction that he not be eligible for parole for the first 25 years of imprisonment. He also faces a fine of up to $60,000.

His next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 13.

Reporter Jesse Davis may be reached at 758-4441 or by email at jdavis@dailyinterlake.com.

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