Updated: Dec 15, 2021
By Joe Johnson
A former University of Georgia student arrested two years ago for allegedly secretly recording his roommate as she took showers at their home on East Broad Street was re-arrested last summer in Troup County on four counts of using spy cameras to commit additional crimes of invasion of privacy and multiple acts of sexual exploitation of children, according to Clarke County Superior Court Records.
Avery Hogan Pendergraph, 33, was arrested in August 2019 by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department on warrants charging him with felony illegal surveillance and electronic transmission of images depicting nudity without consent.
Police said he allegedly took photos and made recordings with a spy camera of his female roommate through a peephole in the bathroom of their Athens residence.
The alleged spying came to light on Aug. 17 2019 when the 30-year-old victim reported that her mother sent her a link for nude photos of the victim, according to an Athens-Clarke County police report.
The woman told police that she and Pendergraph did not get along, he did not pay his bills and that he moved out.
At the time, Pendergraph was a computer science student at UGA, according to his LinkedIn profile.
After receiving the link to the photographs, which included images of her getting out of the shower, the victim noticed a small “screw-like” hole in the wall under a mirror and cabinet in her bathroom, according to a police report.
The bedroom that was formerly occupied by Pendergraph was on the other side of the wall, where the victim found "a random screw" that seemed "weird to her," the police report said.
The victim reportedly told police that Pendergraph had mentioned that he had bought some security cameras for the house, but she never saw them.
At the time the police report was filed, an officer noted in the report that the address on Pendergraph’s driver’s license had been changed to a location in LaGrange.
After being booked into the Clarke County Jail, Pendergraph was released on a $5,000 surety bond with the conditions he could not use electronic recording devices or the Internet.
One month later, Clarke County Superior Court Judge Lawton Stephens signed a search warrant for electronic devices that were found in the possession of Pendergraph when arrested.
Athens-Clarke investigators subsequently found numerous photos of the Athens victim in her bathroom, “as well as numerous other females in bathrooms...and multiple images of child pornography on (Pendergraph’s) iPhone and iPad, as well as the Defendant’s Mega Cloud storage accounts,” according to a prosecutor’s motion to revoke Pendergraph’s bond.
Mega is a cloud storage and file hosting service based in New Zealand that permits users to link others into their accounts to share files.
The motion states a search of Pendergraph’s bedroom at his home in LaGrange resulted in the recovery of “multiple items prohibited by the special conditions of bond” in Athens, including a key fob spy camera, a smoke alarm camera and a USB spy camera.
The motion noted that one of the videos was “produced in a bathroom located on the University of Georgia campus in February 2020,” and that among his multiple victims was a prepubescent boy.
Pendergraph was subsequently charged by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation with two counts of possession of child pornography and 2 counts of distribution of child pornography.
When the Georgia Supreme Court in March 2020 declared a statewide Judicial Emergency due to the Covid-19 pandemic, all grand jury proceedings were suspended, leaving Pendergraph’s case pending.
Last week, on July 27, Western Judicial Circuit District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez filed an accusation in Superior court that formally charged Pendergraph with one count of invasion of privacy.
Facing the additional charges in his hometown of LaGrange, Pendergraph was being held without bail at the Troup County Detention Center.
He is scheduled to be arraigned on his alleged spying activities in Athens on Aug. 30.