KENDALL COUNTY, Texas – A Hill Country property owner who used a hidden camera to secretly record guests in various states of undress inside his rental cabin was sentenced to one year in jail Friday in Kendall County District Court.
A. Jay Allee, 55, pleaded guilty to six felony counts of invasive visual recording and was taken into custody to immediately begin serving his sentence.
“I do not want to see you in my courtroom again, Mr. Allee,” Judge Kirsten Cohoon said shortly before Allee was lead out of court by a bailiff.
Allee agreed to serve one year in a state jail facility in exchange for the Kendall County District Attorney’s Office dismissing nine other counts against him.
Allee’s sentences will run concurrently.
“I’m relieved because the victims are relieved. So, they were waiting for a resolution in this case and now they have it,” said Nick Socias, the special victims prosecutor who handled the case.
Cameras were not allowed inside the courtroom as Allee, who arrived smiling and carrying a knapsack of personal belongings, stood before Cohoon and said he was guilty of all six counts.
He did not respond to a question from KSAT as he entered court asking if he had anything to say to this victims.
Since invasive visual recording is not considered a sex offense in Texas, Allee faced a maximum of two years in jail on each criminal charge.
Allee’s plea bargain appearance came less than two weeks before he was scheduled to go to trial.
“He’s going to have to put together an entirely new life. The life he had, after he gets out of jail, it no longer exists aside from his family. And with his family he’ll rebuild a new life,” said defense attorney Patrick Ballantyne.
Fellow defense attorney Nico LaHood released the following statement Friday:
“Mr. Allee was faced with a very challenging set of circumstances regarding the multiple charges against him. After careful, and diligent consideration we reached an agreement with the State to allow Mr. Allee, and his family, to move on with their lives.”
More than 2,100 images recovered by law enforcement
Kendall County Sheriff’s Office investigators became aware of Allee in the summer of 2021, after a couple from the Midwest staying in the cabin on his sprawling Comfort property discovered the recording device.
A warrant for Allee’s arrest indicated that the couple first became suspicious of Allee after he suggested that they watch the sunrise from the cabin’s porch while in their pajamas or nude.
While the woman was later showering, the man noticed an AC power adapter for a router facing the bed.
Upon inspection, the router turned out to be fake and the power adapter contained a small recording device and lens.
The surreptitious piece of equipment, which can be purchased on hidden camera websites for under $130, is believed to have been in place for nine months or longer.
“How this camera worked, basically it was a time lapse. So it takes a picture every few seconds, so that’s how it comes together,” said Socias.
Sheriff’s investigators moved quickly in the case, executing a search warrant at the cabin and Allee’s nearby home in July 2021, a day after first receiving the criminal complaint.
Investigators seized the hidden camera, the fake router it was attached to and six electronic devices belonging to Allee, including laptops, an iPad and iPhones.
Investigators eventually uncovered 2,126 thumbnail images from Allee’s seized devices.
Socias on Friday credited KCSO for diligently cross referencing the thousands of images with rental records from the cabin.
“The six (victims) are the ones that we went through and we could confirm both the identity of the victim from the photograph and that they were either nude or engaged in some type of sex act,” said Socias.
Allee had attained the status of being both an Airbnb Superhost and a VRBO Premier Host.
The two vacation rental companies were named in lawsuits filed by many of Allee’s victims.
Airbnb later resolved its case out of court. Suits against Allee and VRBO are pending and could go to trial later this year, an attorney representing many of the victims told KSAT Friday.