Ex-U. of Akron Employee Faces Burglary and Extortion Charges

Nov. 7--A former employee of the University of Akron has been indicted on suspicion of burglary, voyeurism and extortion in residence halls.

Shaun Harkness, 28, of Western Springs, Ill., will be extradited to Akron to face local charges issued Tuesday by a Summit County grand jury -- 10 counts of burglary, two counts of extortion and two counts of voyeurism.

Harkness joined UA's Office of Residence Life and Housing in July 2003. He is accused of going into female students' rooms without their permission and stealing photographs. He also is accused of placing a camera in a women's shower in Orr Hall.

He left UA in June 2006 to take a similar job at Northern Illinois University in Dekalb. Shortly before he left, a female UA student told university police that she had received threatening e-mails about stolen photographs.

On Oct. 21, Harkness was arrested on charges of intimidation and telecommunications harassment at Northern Illinois. In examining his computer, NIU police found videos of female UA students taking showers, said UA Police Chief Paul Callahan.

All identified subjects of the photos have been informed, he said. He said he did not know how many women were videotaped.

Since the allegations were made at UA, university police have increased security in residence halls.

Callahan said they regularly examine bathrooms and showers and have installed combination locks on shower areas. Only residents are given the combination, which is changed periodically.

Harkness did not have a criminal record when he joined UA, Callahan said.

Harkness will face the local charges after the ones in Illinois are resolved, Callahan said.

Copyright (c) 2007, The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.