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Stalking victim shares story of finding video, photos, 'bags of hair' in Vernal law office

By Amanda Gilbert & Matthew Jacobson, KUTV

Fri, February 23rd 2024

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — A former prosecutor who was charged with two counts of voyeurism had those charges dropped as part of a plea agreement in January, according to court records.

Dennis L. Judd, the former Uintah County attorney who recorded himself hiding a camera in the restrooms at his private practice, was arrested in March 2023 when one of his employees discovered an SD card that contained videos her, recorded with a hidden device at the Dennis L. Judd Law Offices in Vernal.

A manilla folder was also among the personnel files that contained photos printed from social media, notes from detailed discussions and more - all centered around Brittany Peabody, the employee who discovered it.

Some of the printed photos were of Peabody, but at least one other included her 15-year-old daughter, which had been taken from Peabody's daughter's Instagram account. She found documents with "conclusions (Judd) had made about her sex life, personal habits, and gynecologic history," according to charges filed the following October.

Ultimately, a plea in abeyance agreement with the Utah Attorney General's Office allowed Judd to have the voyeurism charges dropped in exchange for a "guilty" or "no contest" plea on a charge of stalking employee Brittany Peabody.

For Peabody, she'd thought about the moment she'd be able to share a victim impact statement since March 15, 2023.

"I thought many times of what I would say if given this opportunity," she shared in a virtual hearing on Jan. 26, when Judd's "no contest" plea was submitted.

What would she say to Judd, a person she once viewed as a mentor?

"He was a person that cared about my future and even at times was a friend," Peabody said. "Overnight I lost my job, my career and the life I'd known for the last six years."

Video that police collected as evidence showed Judd placing a video camera in a vent in the bathroom ceiling on Oct. 6, 2021. The footage showed him shut the vent and walk away, but he's back less than a minute later, rechecking his work.Brittany would eventually find the SD card with footage on it, which she said wasn't the only card containing hidden-camera footage.

"I know there are tens, if not hundreds, of additional videos that were not found," Peabody said. "I feel hopeless because I can't prove it. But I did see how many SD cards were purchased by the defendant, and the box full of spy cameras that were found."

Those weren't the only items of a personal nature she discovered, either.

"I also want it o be known that two bags of my hair were also found in the box with my employee file and numerous pictures and notes written about me," she said, noting that the hair had not been mentioned during the court process.

It was not listed in a probable cause statement filed with the charging documents, either, which stated the folder contained "photos of (Peabody), photos of holiday cards, gifts allegedly from (Peabody), copies of text messages between (Peabody) and Judd, and several documents dated 2021. The documents went into great detail about conversations Judd had with (Peabody) his feelings of attraction to her, and several photos of (Peabody) rom her Facebook and other social media sources, including one of her in a bikini."

Probable cause statements don't typically include all the case information and evidence. They only need to contain enough to secure an arrest warrant or file a charge.

"The level of fear I feel everyday knowing this person recorded me without my knowledge, had a locked box dedicated to pictures and notes pertaining to me, and a collection of my hair is indescribable. " Peabody said during her victim impact statement. "I didn't know what type of person the defendant is or what he is capable of."

After a seven-month investigation, Judd was charged with two counts of voyeurism and one count of stalking.

Attorney Andrew Stoddard represented Peabody in the state's case against Judd. He is also representing her in civil case against her former employer.

Stoddard said, "I've seen a lot of horrible, traumatic things, and this is laid out at the top."

In the virtual hearing, Judd pled "no contest" to the stalking charge.

The other two charges will be dismissed if Judd abides by the terms of the agreement.

He was ordered to serve 18 months of probation, pay a $1,000 fine, have no contact with the victims in the case, and submit to a mental health evaluation in Florida, where he now resides.

"I think given his position as an attorney, as a former prosecutor, he got off way too light," Stoddard said. "I understand that he has no criminal history. I prosecuted cases. I understand how the system works. He pled guilty to one charge, and it's held in abeyance. He has a very light sentence. He's required to do therapy, and I think that's appropriate, but there's no conviction."

"There's not really a whole lot to hold him accountable, and if he complies with the terms, the case is dismissed. It doesn't go on his record."

Attorney Loni DeLand represented Judd, and he said in the hearing there have been repercussions to his client's actions.

"As a result of the publicity in this small community in Vernal, my client has become something of a pariah," DeLand said. "He had to close down his law practice; he had to move out of state. He's relocated to Florida, so there have been consequences."

Those consequences, though, included options that were never available to Peabody, Stoddard noted.

"(Brittany) doesn't have wealth like Dennis did to just pack up and move because he felt uncomfortable," he said. "She's there and will be there."

Brittany said this has impacted her personal life and her career aspirations.

"I can't sleep because of the nightmares," she said. "I worry about the evidence the defendant still has but was never seized. ... Now my hopes of going to law school have been shattered, and my working in the legal field has forever been tainted."

While the criminal case has concluded, Brittany and her attorney say they're now focused on a civil case.

The civil case has not yet been filed with Utah courts, and Stoddard said he and Peabody weren't ready to share the details, including what damages they're seeking.


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