Voyeurism complaints against former UNH athletic staffer stem from Vermont game
NEWMARKET— A University of New Hampshire basketball staffer fired last month may have taken video and still photographs of male basketball players inside a men's locker room after a basketball game at the University of Vermont in January, authorities said.
Scott A. Weitzell is at the center of a joint criminal investigation involving UNH and UVM police and was arrested by Newmarket police Feb. 21 on charges he tried to keep his cellphone from authorities when they attempted to seize it.
At a news conference Wednesday, UNH officials revealed new details about the allegations against Weitzell, a former Newmarket youth coach who was the part-time director of operations for UNH men's basketball.
UNH's athletic director and other university officials learned about the misconduct allegations on Feb. 20 and they were immediately reported to UNH police, according to Joel Seligman, UNH's chief communications officer.
Seligman said the administration suspended Weitzell, who wasn't a UNH coach, on Feb. 21 and banned him from campus to "remove the risk that Mr. Weitzell posed to the privacy of our students."
Weitzell was fired on Feb. 25.
UNH Police Chief Paul Dean said the initial complaint came from an athlete who reported the incident to staff.
UNH police investigators obtained a search warrant to seize Weitzell's cellphone, which Dean said may have been used to record images in the locker room assigned to the UNH basketball team at the UVM game on Jan. 20.
During the search of his home at 75 Elm St. in Newmarket on Feb. 21, the 50-year-old Weitzell was charged with attempting to falsify physical evidence and resisting arrest or detention.
"UNH PD investigators are actively investigating these allegations related to the men's basketball team and are continuing to coordinate with other law enforcement partners as more information continues to become available," Dean said.
Police have obtained additional search warrants for his residence and at UNH and "more materials" have been seized and are being reviewed.
"At this time it does not appear that any of the materials seized include images of any person under the age of 18 and investigators are exercising all appropriate cautions to make sure any potential victims are identified and provided with counseling and other support services," Dean said.
Dean said additional criminal charges may be filed by UNH police and police at UVM.
UVM Deputy Chief Tim Bilodeau said his department was contacted by UNH police a couple of weeks ago and told about the allegations. According to Bilodeau, the complaint involved only UNH athletes who played in the UVM game.
Meanwhile, UNH officials are also trying to figure out why it took a month before the complaints were brought to the attention of the administration.
"UNH is working to prevent this kind of misconduct from happening on our campus. UNH President Mark Huddleston is deeply troubled by the amount of time that passed between the Vermont game and the reporting of the allegations to UNH senior officials," Seligman said.
Huddleston is working with leadership from the university's board of trustees to determine the best course for a broad "independent investigation and review," Seligman said.
UNH has provided support to the basketball players affected and reached out to their families, Seligman said. On Monday, senior administrators met with the basketball team and the coaching staff to inform them about the allegations and the criminal investigation.
Weitzell remains free on $3,000 personal recognizance bail on the Newmarket charges and was ordered to stay away from the UNH campus unless he's accompanied by a police officer. He was also ordered to have no contact with any staff, employees or athletes at UNH.
On court paperwork, Weitzell indicated that he worked for the athletics department for the past 12 years.
According to a biography page that has since been removed from UNH's website, Weitzell coached high school and middle school boys' basketball in Newmarket for 19 seasons.
He also served on the Newmarket School Board for several years starting in the 1980s.
In court papers, Weitzell listed Empire Corp. as his past employer for 30 years. The website for Empire Beauty School still lists him as the company's operations manager.
Weitzell is due back in Brentwood Circuit Court on April 1.
Weitzell could not be reached on a phone number he listed on court documents.
Dean urged anyone with information on Weitzell to contact the UNH Police Department at 862-1427.