HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — A former Durham police officer and softball coach entered his plea Wednesday to charges in connection with his former tanning salon business.
Billy Apple pleaded guilty to eight counts of indecent liberties with a minor, seven counts of contributing to delinquency and 106 counts of secret peeping.
In March 2003, investigators found a VCR, 22 videotapes of clients at Apple's tanning salon in Hillsborough. They also found three cameras hidden in air purifiers in the booths of the salon.
Apple also coached the girls' softball team at East Chapel Hill High School. Some parents claimed Apple encouraged members of the team to tan at his salon.
Apple's plea means he will not serve jail time. He was given a suspended sentence and placed on 18 months on electronic house arrest. He must also pay $64,000 in fines and register as a sex offender.
When Apple's attorney implied the financial punishment was unfair, Judge Wade Barber fired back.
"He felt financially able to go and buy a $25,000 car with these charges pending four or five months ago," Barber said.
After a speech in open court about how his life has changed for the better, Apple apologized for his actions.
"I am truly sorry for the problems I have caused," he said. "I know what it's done to me, so I obviously know what it's done to all those people, so the only thing I can do is say I'm sorry."
Some of the alleged victims in the case were in the courtroom as Apple pleaded guilty. Wade Heverly, whose wife and two teenage daughters were victims, said he was not impressed with the apology.
"It sounded like a good song," he said.
Assistant District Attorney Kayley Tabor said she did not go after active jail time because secret peeping was only a misdemeanor when Apple was charged. She lobbied state lawmakers for a change and there is now a video voyeur law is on the books. It is considered a felony.