Dot man who filmed students in bathrooms gets 12-year term

A federal judge last week sentenced Eric Tran Thai, 39, to 12 years in federal prison and five years of probation for his guilty plea to charges of two counts of possession of child pornography.

Thai, a Dorchester resident, admitted last January that he somehow managed to get into Boston Latin School at least ten times in 2017, and station himself in a stall in a boy’s restroom from where he took videos of students either in adjacent stalls or at urinals.

In total, he made 45 videos, authorities say.

Prosecutors had asked US District Court Judge William Young to sentence Thai to at least 15 years. In a sentencing memorandum, assistant US Attorney Anne Paruti wrote: “This case is more than a ‘child pornography’ case, as the defendant appears to characterize it.

Thai’s attorney wrote a sentencing memorandum, but Young agreed to seal the document - along with the request to have it not made public.
Paruti added that her office agreed to a plea deal to spare victims from having to testify in court.

“The government appreciates that the defendant has committed himself, post-arrest, to treatment, and expects that it should and will be a part of his life for years to come,” she said.

“That motivation does not, however, sufficiently mitigate the need for a lengthy sentence as punishment for the reprehensible conduct at issue here; regardless of what led the defendant to capitalize on the vulnerability of the victims in this case, the effect on those victims is the same: disbelief, trauma, fear, hypersensitivity, and an overwhelming feeling of violation.

“This is a predictable reaction to being filmed by a stranger in a place that is, for many families, a nurturing environment designed to foster their children’s intellectual and individual growth.”

Thai faces separate charges in state court for the alleged incidents that brought him to the attention of authorities, involving two students at Boston College who say they discovered Thai was in a restroom there, videoing them.