STAMFORD — The former head lifeguard of Burying Hill Beach in Westport accused of secretly filming his female colleagues has avoided jail by pleading guilty to five counts of voyeurism.

Michael Collins, 30, received a 10-year suspended jail sentence and five years of probation by Judge Richard Comerford in state Superior Court in Stamford.

Westport police charged Collins in January 2016 after investigators determined he used cameras hidden in clocks to spy on female lifeguards.

He was initially charged with 431 counts of voyeurism, 431 counts of eavesdropping and a single count of third-degree possession of child pornography. State’s Attorney Richard Colangelo told Comerford he was unable to prove the child pornography charge.

Burying Hill is a small section of beach between the popular Sherwood Island State Park and Greens Farms. Overlooking the beach is a two-room clapboard building — the lifeguard shack where police said Collins set up his cameras.

Defense attorney Andrew Bowman read to the judge during Friday’s hearing a psychiatrist’s evaluation of his client. Bowman said Collins had no history of sexual deviance or a propensity for violence or psychopathy, indicating his client does not suffer from being a sociopath.

Collins is required to continue receiving treatment and is prohibited from contacting lifeguards he worked with at Burying Hill during his five years of probation. One victim has obtained a criminal restraining order, preventing Collins from contacting her for 30 years.

“As prosecutors, we are charged with seeking justice. In this case, a very complex case, the defendant was laboring with psychiatric issues his whole life,” Colangelo said. “Based on those issues and in consultation with Judge Comerford and attorney Bowman, we determined this was the best course of action for everyone involved. This provides protection for the victims and allows the defendant to continue the treatment he needs to be a productive member of society.”

In August 2015, two female lifeguards alerted Westport Water Front Director Kaitlin Mello to two unusual clocks placed in seemingly random locations in the lifeguard shack.

Police said each of the clocks had a small lens hole on the top left corner and there were media cards in the back.

Each media card contained more than 250 videos titled with the name of each female lifeguard and the activity she was captured doing at the time, police said.

There was a video of one female lifeguard doing lunges in her two-piece bathing suit, drying off with a towel, and others of female and male lifeguards removing their clothing and lying on a couch in their bathing suits watching television in the shack.

Collins was also captured on his own videos repositioning the clocks so the camera would get a better view of a female lifeguard, investigators said.

jnickerson@stamfordadvocate.com;