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Peeping landlord faces suits

A Montgomery County lawyer has been denied a request to remove an attachment placed on his home as part of civil lawsuits stemming from his installing hidden cameras in bedrooms rented out to female tenants.

Dennis A. Van Dusen, 64, was sentenced in July to five years’ probation and ordered to pay a $2,500 fine after pleading guilty in April to three counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent.

Two of his former tenants filed separate civil lawsuits against Van Dusen and were granted attachments on his Chevy Chase home in March. Montgomery County Circuit Judge Robert A. Greenberg denied Van Dusen’s motion to quash the attachment during a hearing last week.

The judge also Thursday denied a motion by one of the former tenants seeking a partial summary judgment for fraudulent conveyance. Her lawsuit alleges Van Dusen — who has worked in the information technology field, according to his online resume — was the sole owner of the property until February, when he added his wife’s name to the deed on the same day his lawyers asked for a stay in the case.

“The … conveyance was made for the purpose of avoiding attachment of the Property to satisfy any judgment in favor of the Plaintiffs,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit, filed last December, seeks $500,000 in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages. A trial is scheduled for the end of January. The plaintiffs, including the tenant’s former boyfriend, are represented by Donna E. McBride, a partner with Miller, Miller & Canby Chtd. in Rockville.

The tenant moved into Van Dusen’s house Jan. 1, 2012, and moved into a room in the basement in May, according to the complaint. On Oct. 12, 2012, the tenant and her then-boyfriend noticed a pinhole in the smoke detector directly above her bed. They took the smoke detector apart, discovered the camera and called police.

A police search of Van Dusen’s computers and hard drives found sexually explicit images of many tenants.

Van Dusen has multiple master’s degrees from Harvard University and graduated from the University of the District of Columbia’s law school in 2009, according to a transcript posted on his personal website. The Maryland Court of Appeals admitted Van Dusen to the state bar Oct. 5, 2012, despite receiving an unfavorable report from the 7th Judicial Circuit, which includes all of Southern Maryland.

On Oct. 14, a day after police came to his house, Van Dusen sent the tenant a text message, according to the complaint.

“I am willing to discuss settlement before you make a claim but not afterward,” the text said. “Best to communicate by email or txt.”

Bar Counsel Glenn M. Grossman declined to comment Friday afternoon when asked if Van Dusen was being investigated by the Attorney Grievance Commission.

A trial in the second tenant’s lawsuit against Van Dusen is scheduled for the end of February.