Convicted sex offender arraigned on charges related to spying on neighbor

CRANSTON, R.I. (WLNE) — A Cranston man who is a previously convicted sex offender was arraigned on a video voyeurism charge on Thursday.

Christopher Jones, accused of flying a drone outside his neighbor’s bathroom to watch her shower, was arraigned at Kent County District Court.

He did not enter a plea and was released on $15,000 bail.

In court, prosecutors said they recovered a drone that belonged to Jones. They said there was several more videos saved on the drone’s memory card outside Stephanie Merola’s bathroom, zooming in as she showered.

Merola heard a buzzing sound outside her room around 11 p.m. on June 21. She went outside to her pool to see where the sound was coming from and spotted the drone outside her bathroom window.

Police said Jones admitted to spying on Merola after police tracked him down. The department released police body camera footage of his arrest on June 23.

Merola spoke to ABC 6 News outside the courthouse Thursday, saying she was disgusted to learn in court that this has been going on more than just once.

“I had no idea that he’s done this more than once, I just found out from inside that courtroom,” Merola said. “I’m very disappointed and I’m disgusted.”

After being released on bail, ABC 6 crews asked Jones for comment, and how long he had been spying on Merola. He declined to answer all questions.

Merola also told ABC 6 she was not aware until this incident that her longtime next door neighbor of more than 30 years had previously been convicted and is a sex offender.

“I’ve lived behind him for 30 years and so have my other neighbors and none of us had a clue that any of this even went on,” Merola said.

Jones is due back in court on Oct. 5.

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