A renowned Manhattan urologist was found video-recording up multiple women's skirts in a subway station yesterday. But over the past few months, this sort of case has been happening a lot. In fact, hidden camera crime is so hot right now. Ugh.
The incident is disturbing, but thanks to one of our most prolific tipsters — who either has a Google alert set for "hidden camera" or is working towards a Ph.D on concealed recording equipment — we know there's been an alarming spate of hidden camera lawsuits across the country over the past few months. But we're not sure why. Is it because the proliferation of DIY porn websites has encouraged men to, well, Do It Themselves? Is it because there's a not-so-black market for upskirt shots? Is it due to better, cheaper gadget options for the creepiest of cinematographers? Here are just a few of the articles we've read this summer about women being filmed without their consent. We're not trying to be fear-mongers, but we think this trend is worth pointing out, especially since many of the accused below already had related and vastly more serious convictions (intent to rape, etc.) under their belt.
Strategy: Hidden in an air freshener container
Choice awful detail: "Depending on what the camera recorded, police could charge the eventual suspect with unlawful sexual contact. If children were photographed, charges could include child pornography, West said."
Strategy: Hidden in the ceiling
Choice awful detail: "11Alive News has learned the landlord who rents the spaces is a registered sex offender. He was convicted of aggravated assault with intent to rape in 2004."
Choice awful detail: "Klawinski said the manager told a company representative that he had planted the camera because some items were being stolen from a nearby storage room." (Mmmk.)
Strategy: Police seized numerous computers, memory cards, flash drives and video cameras from the accused man's house.
Choice awful detail: "She told police she was unaware she was being videotaped nude in her bedroom and went to police after discovering videos of herself stored on a computer at the home."
Strategy: A camera in a coffee packet on the bathroom counter. (WHAT.)
Choice awful detail: "Latah County Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Evans told 2nd District Judge John Stegner on Monday that Wells acknowledged videotaping an adult woman in the past and says he has tried to minimize his crime and shows reluctance toward treatment."
Strategy: "Police say the camera was set up a wireless router and had a motion sensor so he would get alerts when she was in the room and he could watch online."
Choice awful detail: "Police say Espinosa is a preacher at a Pryor Hispanic Church and acted as clergy for a hospice in Choteau."
Choice awful detail: "According to their lawsuit, Johnson encouraged them to wear "skirts and high heels" while working in the office. He instructed them to sit at a particular desk in the office and allegedly positioned devices that secretly recorded their legs and lower torso and between their legs, according to the lawsuit."
Strategy: Undisclosed, but it was "not positioned correctly," so he got a lesser charge, even though it wasn't his first offense.
Choice awful detail: "Earlier this month Bednarik was accused of poking a hole in the ceiling tile above a woman's desk in an office at the college and installing a camera to record her while she was partially nude and pumping breast milk, according to court records."
Strategy: Hidden in an air-conditioning vent in the women's bathroom
Choice awful detail: "[A former] employee ... had rigged the cameras before absconding to Texas with stolen bounce houses and laser lights."
Strategy: Hidden in a stage light
Choice awful detail: "They discovered another camera in the area, which served as both a performance stage and a dressing area where 'some of the customers even disrobe and get down to their underwear' because of 'assurances that there are no cameras in the room,' the lawsuit states."
There are oh so many more examples where these come from — and these are just stories about people who have actually been caught. So what's the takeaway? We obviously can't stop suspicious people (or even convicted sex offenders) from obtaining tiny, easily concealable cameras, and you shouldn't stop going to the gym or the salon or your fucking office because there are sickos out there. Here's the one thing we do know: this is what rape culture looks like.
Top doc ‘sicko' arrest [New York Post]
Image via O2Shutterstock.