Bellingham man accused of voyeurism makes first appearance in court
A Bellingham dentist was sentenced to 30 days in jail Monday after he made a sex tape of a woman without her consent or knowledge.
David John Schneider, 47, was sentenced to 364 days in the Whatcom County Jail with 334 suspended for one count of second-degree voyeurism (domestic violence), a gross misdemeanor. Schneider is eligible to serve his time with jail alternatives, except for electronic home monitoring, and is not allowed to consume or possess alcohol.
A two-year no-contact order was put in place between the woman and Schneider.
He will not be required to register as a sex offender.
In a written victim impact statement sent to the court, the woman said she was relieved the case was coming to an end, but was disappointed the case wasn’t being resolved with a felony conviction and was concerned Schneider would “continue his predatory behavior,” according to court records.
She said she hoped the same situation didn’t happen to another person, but said the difficulty associated with reporting sexual assaults and the drawn-out process for the victim, weighed against the consequences for the perpetrator, may discourage others from coming forward.
“I trusted him. That trust and vulnerability was violated and exploited leaving permanent scars. The energy it has required to report this violation and the impact on my life are tremendous, devastating and traumatizing,” the woman wrote.
“David’s loss of freedom, firearms, or professional license, cannot compare to the loss of trust, safety, dignity, confidence, and peace that I will experience for the rest of my life.”
Whatcom County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Brandon Waldron said in order to prove first-degree voyeurism, he would have had to prove in trial that Schneider made the recording without the woman’s consent or knowledge.
Waldron said while he believes the woman, he received information that would have left that open for a jury to consider if the case had gone to trial.
When he pleaded guilty on Oct 3., Schneider wrote that he didn’t believe his actions “met the elements of voyeurism,” but he wanted to accept the state’s plea because of the possibility of being convicted of a more serious charge at trial.
Schneider was originally charged with first-degree voyeurism (domestic violence), a felony, in early Dec. 2017.
He was arrested after a woman said she found a video of them having sex stored on a computer in his home in the 3100 block of Eldridge Avenue. The woman took pictures of the video and called police, as she did not know she was being recorded or did not give consent to be recorded, records show.
By the time officers received a search warrant for Schneider’s home, someone had been inside and removed the computer from the location described by the woman. The computer was not found inside the residence, records state.
While officers were serving the search warrant, they also found more than 35 grams of hallucinogenic mushrooms in a Ziploc bag, records state. Schneider was then charged on Sept. 6 with one count of unlawful possession of a controlled substance (psilocybin). As part of the plea deal, the controlled substance charge was dropped, Waldron said.
Court records show Schneider previously stalked a woman with a GPS tracker he placed under her car. Schneider pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of first-degree criminal trespassing in 2010 and was sentenced to 365 days in jail with 353 suspended, according to a previous story in The Bellingham Herald.
Schneider was also cited for having less than 40 grams of marijuana in his possession in 2010, and for using a cellphone while driving in 2011. The marijuana possession charge was dismissed and Schneider pleaded guilty to a deferred finding on the driving charge, but it was dismissed a year later, records state.
Schneider was associated with Bayview Dental, but a previous link affiliating him with the business has been removed and returns an error message. According to the Whatcom County Assessor’s office, Dr. Gorgin Arasteh purchased the practice from Schneider in 2018 and is the sole proprietor.
Washington State Department of Health records show Schneider was issued a dentist’s license in March 2004. It was renewed on June 5, and is still active, records show.
A department spokesperson said Monday there is currently an active investigation regarding Schneider’s license.
Property records show the duplex Schneider lived is owned by Bellingham Mayor Kelli Linville and her husband, William P. Roehl. At the time of The Herald’s previous story, Schneider had told them he intended to move out, according to a previous statement from city spokeswoman Vanessa Blackburn.
When contacted by The Herald on Monday, Mayor Kelli Linville said Schneider had moved out and new tenants are occupying the duplex.