A former Laurel police officer who pleaded guilty to photographing his girlfriend's 15-year-old daughter as she got out of a shower was sentenced Monday to four years in prison for the sexual abuse of a minor.

Howard County Circuit Court Judge Diane O. Leasure also sentenced 38-year-old Edward Charles Schmitt to a one-year term for use of a hidden camera. The state sentences will be served concurrently with the seven-year federal sentence Schmitt received earlier on a child pornography charge.

Schmitt could have received up to nine years on the state charge.

Schmitt pleaded guilty in federal court June 14 to receiving child pornography. He was suspended by the Laurel police force in April of 2010 and resigned four months later.

Earlier this year, Leasure found Schmitt guilty of sexually abusing a minor after he admitted to hiding a small camera in the closet of his live-in girlfriend's home in February 2010. Schmitt left the camera in the closet to take pictures of the teenage girl dressing after a shower. Schmitt also masturbated in front of the camera.

After police searched his house, Schmitt was found to be in possession of nearly three dozen sexually explicit images and more than a dozen videos of minors on two of his computers. The pictures and videos showed minors, some under the age of 12, engaged in sadism and masochism.

One of the computers contained a video card with the 15-year old girl undressing.

don.markus@baltsun.com