Crime

Serial Rock Hill peeping tom guilty again. Here’s how long he’ll go to prison

Serial York County SC peeping Tom guilty again

Travis Cousar of Rock Hill, South Carolina, described by police and prosecutors previously as a serial peeping tom, was sent to prison again Wednesday after pleading guilty in two more cases.
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Travis Cousar of Rock Hill, South Carolina, described by police and prosecutors previously as a serial peeping tom, was sent to prison again Wednesday after pleading guilty in two more cases.

Police and prosecutors in York County have called Travis Cousar of Rock Hill a serial peeping tom who refuses to change or stop.

Wednesday in court, Cousar, 37, pleaded guilty to two charges of being a peeping tom for two 2017 incidents. He was sentenced to three years in prison in a negotiated agreement between prosecutors and Cousar’s lawyer.

As part of the plea deal, the judge ruled the two incidents were sexually violent acts. This means Cousar will now be screened to see if he is considered a sexually violent predator under South Carolina law. If so, Cousar could be sent to an institution for treatment at the end of his prison sentence, said 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett.

“We have dealt with Mr. Cousar repeatedly and every time he gets out of prison, he re-offends,” Brackett said after court. “Now, if Mr. Cousar is found under the screening while in prison to possibly be a sexually violent predator, the South Carolina Attorney General can initiate an action to have a court determine if he is a sexually violent predator.”

Cousar already is a registered sex offender, court records show.

Cousar in court Wednesday only said he was there to “plead guilty in his case.”

The three-year sentence handed down Wednesday is the maximum under South Carolina law for peeping tom. “Peeping tom” is the actual name of the law in South Carolina. There is no state law that allows for enhanced penalties after a second or subsequent conviction for peeping tom.

As part of Wednesday’s sentencing, Cousar also will have four years of probation, GPS monitoring, mental health treatment and a dusk to dawn curfew when he is released from prison, Judge Bill McKinnon ruled.

“These are assurances for the community that this defendant will be carefully watched,” said Erin Joyner, assistant solicitor.

Cousar also pleaded guilty to failure to stop for a blue light and threatening to kill a jailer in Wednesday’s court hearing.

Cousar’s victims have said in court they were terrified when they saw him looking in windows of their Rock Hill homes. One victim told prosecutors she moved her family to a new home out of fear for their safety. In the two convictions Wednesday, Cousar was peeping into kitchen and bedroom windows of women.

Raia Hirsch, Cousar’s lawyer, said Cousar has had mental health treatment over the past two decades and while in jail for other peeping tom arrests. Hirsch says Cousar has improved while on medication and the hope is that this type of incident never occurs again.

Cousar was released from prison in December 2016 for another peeping tom conviction. Cousar had been given two years in prison, but because of credit for time served, he was in for eight months.

File video from April 2016: Travis Cousar, whom Rock Hill police have called a “serial Peeping Tom,” and has several past convictions, was sentenced to two years prison for his latest crime of peeping at a woman in her bedroom.

Cousar has past convictions for peeping tom in 2016 and 2014 and 2011, as well as two other convictions for failure to register as a sex offender, court records show. He has a criminal record that dates back to 1998, according to prosecutors and State Law Enforcement Division records.

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Andrew Dys covers breaking news and public safety for The Herald, where he has been a reporter and columnist since 2000. He has won 51 South Carolina Press Association awards for his coverage of crime, race, justice, and people. He is author of the book “Slice of Dys” and his work is in the U.S. Library of Congress.
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