Jail for man who taped young girls

Staff photo by Dean Shalhoup A court officer escorts Thomas Herrmann into the courtroom for his sentencing hearing Thursday afternoon. Herrmann will serve a year in jail after pleading guilty to video recording two young girls in their bedroom and bathroom in 2016.

NASHUA – The two young girls secretly recorded on hidden video cameras last year while changing clothes and showering sat quietly with their mother in the front row of a Nashua courtroom on Thursday as Thomas Herrmann, the man who admitted to installing the cameras, stood before the judge who would send him to jail for a year.

Herrmann, 53, formerly of 5 Joppa Road in Merrimack, pleaded guilty in June to one count each of aggravated felonious sexual assault, a felony, and violation of privacy, a misdemeanor, as part of an agreement his attorneys reached with prosecutors.

In exchange for pleading guilty, Herrmann was sentenced to five to 10 years in state prison, all suspended for 10 years, on the felony charge, and 12 months in Valley Street jail in Manchester, to be stand committed beginning Thursday.

He was given credit for 140 days already served in jail, bringing his sentence to roughly 71/2 months.

Herrmann also must serve three years of probation after his release from jail and participate in any counseling, education or treatment programs as recommended by jail officials.

He is prohibited from having any contact with the victims or members of their family; must register as a sex offender; and have no unsupervised contact with children younger than 16.

The girls’ mother – Herrmann’s now former wife – had written a victim impact statement, which was read to the court by a friend who had accompanied her and the girls to the hearing.

“Never in my worst nightmare did I think I’d be here,” the statement began. “It’s been over a year since I found that camera. … I realized (then) that I was married to my worst nightmare.”

She wrote about the difficulties her daughters have experienced since the cameras were discovered and Herrmann was arrested in early May 2016.

Herrmann’s “actions have greatly impacted their lives,” she wrote. “One has been diagnosed with PTSD and the other has had problems with anxiety and depression. We’ve also suffered financial hardships.”

While the family doesn’t believe “that the punishment fits the crime,” the fact that there has been a disposition in the case brings “some relief … and closure” to what she called “this sick situation.”

Superior Court Judge Charles Temple said he decided to accept the plea agreement thanks in large part to the victims’ input.

“I agree with (the mother’s) statement, that this sentence doesn’t necessarily fit this crime,” Temple said. “I don’t know if any sentence fits this type of crime.”

“I hope you will comply fully” with the terms of the plea agreement, he told Herrmann, “and that there will never be another victim at your hands.”

Attorney Sarah Newhall, a public defender who represented Herrmann, told Temple that her client “has already been working with a psychologist” and plans to participate in programs while in jail.

Herrmann, who chose not to address the court, “wishes nothing but good things for his ex-wife and the girls going forward,” Newhall said.

Temple, turning to the girls and their mother, told them, “I understand you want to get past this. … My hope is that you can put this tragedy behind you.

“I have an enormous amount of respect for any child who can move past something like this. You are already doing that.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-1256, dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DeanS.