SUPERIOR COURT - When handyman Joseph Krenicky placed a hidden camera in the bathroom of a Wantage family's home, he not only betrayed that family's trust but he also lost a 40-year-long friendship in the process.

Krenicky, a 48-year-old Vernon man, had known the patriarch of the Wantage family since they were in fifth grade. On Friday, Krenicky's former friend struggled to make sense of the situation, admitting he found it hard to find the right words to say.

“He is a wolf in sheep's clothing, I am so outraged I'm at a loss for words,” the man said as he stood in the courtroom, facing Krenicky. Krenicky declined to turn and look at his former friend.

“He worked for my brother, he worked for my parents. My father took him under his wing, he would take him to dinner,” the man said. “I am angry beyond angry, plus a thousand.”

Krenicky appeared in front of Judge Thomas J. Critchley in state Superior Court in Newton Friday where he was sentenced to three years in state prison. In May, Krenicky admitted that while doing work at the Wantage family home between November and December of 2018, he set up a video recording device the bathroom. Concealed among other tools, the device video recorded several members of the family in a state of undress, an admission he made during his plea hearing in May. Krenicky pleaded guilty to second-degree endangering the welfare of a child and third-degree invasion of privacy.

On Friday, Krenicky's attorney, Jason Seidman, didn't argue for a lesser sentence than the state's recommended three years, but asked the judge to withhold a condition of parole supervision for life.

“He has lived an otherwise law-abiding life, he takes care of his mother since his father has passed,” Seidman argued, adding that a mental health evaluation found Krenicky's actions were “repetitive but not compulsive.”

Under the conditions of the sentence, Krenicky will have to register as a Megan's Law offender. Critchley, in denying Seidman's request, required Krenicky to be parole supervised for life.

Assistant Prosecutor Brent Rafuse called the sense of betrayal by Krenicky “staggering,” stating that the camera had recorded four - one more than initially believed - family members undressed in the family's bathroom. One of those family members was an underage female.

“An underage child was victimized, whether or not she was the object of his 'desire' makes absolutely no matter in this case. He sat and waited to see someone naked when he didn't have permission to do it,” Rafuse said. Krenicky saved the video recordings on a SD card, took them home and would upload them onto his computer.

“It's inexcusable behavior, it's secretive and it's illegal,” Rafuse said. “No one should ever feel like someone is watching them in their own home.”

Rafuse also indicated that Krenicky's criminal actions were not limited to one home. When authorities served a search warrant of Krenicky's Vernon home, they found additional video recordings of a female, leading authorities to a home in Chester, in Orange County, N.Y.

In August, Krenicky admitted in Orange County Court in New York he was hired to do electrical work at the woman's home and secretly installed a camera in her bathroom.

He admitted he caught the woman in a state of undress and pleaded guilty to second-degree unlawful surveillance and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 10, according to New York court records. It was agreed his sentence, a recommended term between one and three years state prison, will run concurrent, or at the same time, as his Sussex County sentence, according to a report by the Times-Herald Record.

Krenicky spoke briefly in court Friday, apologizing to his former friend and his family.

“I betrayed your friendship and your honesty. If there was anything I could change about it, I would,” Krenicky said. “I was wrong. With the recent passings of my father, my grandmother, my uncle, I've just had a lot on my mind. With my medical issues, my mind was in a different place. It will never happen again.”

Critchley, in response, added, “You should understand on this day of judgement, it shouldn't have happened and it should never happen again.”

Critchley added, “It is a very upsetting scenario and it's a gross violation of trust and invasion of privacy. Worse yet, to do it to people who trusted you.”

On Nov. 9, a resident of the Wantage home emerged from a shower and discovered the black box and subsequently found a Micro SD card inside. According to the affidavit from Krenicky's arrest, the resident who found the device suspected it was Krenicky's, and after a “weird” confrontation with Krenicky, the resident called police.

Krenicky was arrested the same day and initially charged with three counts of third-degree invasion of privacy and a second-degree charge of endangering the welfare of a child engaged in a sexual act. Had he been convicted on his original charges, he was facing up to 25 years in state prison.

Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LoriComstockNJH or by phone: 973-383-1194.