TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A former Pasco County high school teacher is facing additional video voyeurism charges following an investigation.
Forty-year-old Thomas Kovack, a teacher at Fivay High School at the time, was initially arrested on Nov. 16, 2018. The initial arrest came after Pasco County deputies say he put a phone to record video in a closet in his classroom where he knew a 17-year-old girl was changing her shirt for a class photo.
In August 2019, Pinellas County detectives received information from the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office that they were investigating Kovack for video voyeurism in Pasco County. During their investigation, an SD card was confiscated from a digital camera that was the property of Fivay High School. On the SD card, deputies say they found several videos of Kovack configuring a video recording device in a bathroom in his Palm Harbor home. The videos were dated March 11, 2011.
There were also several videos of unknown teenagers using Kovack’s bathroom, exposing their genitals, breasts or buttocks while using the toilet and/or changing their clothes, deputies say.
Deputies say Kovack admitted to purchasing a video recorder – specifically with motion activation – and setting up the camera in his parents’ bathroom. He told deputies he was the journalism and newspaper teacher at J.W. Mitchell High School at the time.
Kovack told deputies he invited students from “The Hoofbeat” newspaper group over to his house for a pool party. Deputies say he would regularly text with the newspaper students which led him to invite them to his house. He supplied alcohol and offered the students to spend the night, the sheriff’s office says.
Deputies say Kovack has photos of the minors drinking alcohol with him. He also made several comments to the students about his parents being out of town and having the house to himself.
On Tuesday, Pinellas detectives interviewed Kovack and he admitted to setting up the camera in his bathroom, deputies say. He told the detectives he recorded the students and stored the videos on the SD drive that was later obtained by Pasco County detectives.
Kovack was arrested again on Tuesday by Pinellas County detectives and charged with 10 counts of video voyeurism.
He was a teacher at J.W. Mitchell from 2011 to 2012 and a teacher at Fivay from 2012 to 2018.
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