Former reality TV private investigator Vincent Parco was in a New York courtroom on Monday facing charges that he hatched a plan to scare a sexual-assault victim from taking the stand against his client, a now-convicted pedophile.
Parco was charged with unlawful surveillance, promoting prostitution and tampering with a witness.
The “Parco P.I.” star, his client Samuel Israel, 45, and ex-associate Tanya Freudenthaler, are accused of trying to silence the woman into not cooperating in the prosecution of Israel by blackmailing her family.
Israel, who pleaded guilty to charges of criminal sex act and witness tampering, was sentenced in October to 8 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 10-year-old family member for 6 years. During his trial, he also confessed to hiring Parco, the 69-year-old mustachioed Court TV private eye, to terrorize the woman so she wouldn’t testify against him.
Israel said he paid Parco $17,000 to set up and record a relative of the victim with prostitutes.
Prosecutors say Parco and Freudenthaler lured a family member of the victim to a hotel room in Sunset Park on Dec. 17, 2016, where she and Parco had installed video recording equipment. They also hired a prostitute who they tried to record having sex with the family member but the equipment malfunctioned. Two days later, Freudenthaler set up another meeting – this time with two prostitutes. The family member was secretly recorded with both women.
Prosecutors say on January 17, 2017, the family member who was recorded at the hotel was “approached by a stranger wearing a scarf who showed him a cell phone video of the hotel encounter and stated: ‘Be smart. Stop making trouble.'”
Instead of backing down, the family member reported the incident to the district attorney’s office.
As this was playing out, Israel’s court case was proceeding and a trial date was set for June 26, 2017.
“On June 22, 2017, a stranger approached another member of the victim’s family and showed that person a cell phone containing video from the hotel,” prosecutors said.
Soon after, a third person contacted the family member and allegedly “offered to act as a mediator” and said he would get the incriminating video from Israel, destroy it and “obtain a statement from Israel admitting to his crimes as ‘insurance’ in the event the video gets released” but warned the family member not to go to the police.
The family member almost immediately reported the incident to the authorities.
The District Attorney’s office issued search warrants and the steamy video was found on Parco’s computer.