Originally published June 21 2012
Sears worker videotaped children in changing rooms, then uploaded footage to the internet
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) A former Sears worker is being charged with numerous crimes after it was discovered that he had been quietly installing spying equipment in women's dressing rooms and restrooms throughout the store. Courthouse News Service (CNS) reports that Alejandro Gamiz, who had been working as a maintenance worker at the North Hollywood, California, Sears location for seven years until being recently fired, had been capturing secret video footage of women and children changing and using the restrooms in the Sears store and uploading these images to the internet.
Such perversion had been taking place for about three years until another Sears worker happened to notice video equipment and peep holes in some of the restrooms and changing rooms on April 12, 2012. This worker reported the information, upon which it was determined that Gamiz was the one responsible. Gamiz was then arrested for burglary and surreptitious filming of unsuspecting women by North Hollywood Area Sexual Assault detectives, according to ABC News.
"My heart immediately sank," said Krystel Dean, a Sears employee, about when she learned of Gamiz's illicit activity. "Not only have I used the restroom and dressing rooms, but my small children have used them as well. I feel like our privacy has been invaded."
Plaintiffs also name Sears as defendant in case Dean and 15 other Sears employees have joined together to file a lawsuit against both Sears and Gamiz, as have nine other Sears customers who believe they and their children may have been victims of the filming at some point in time. Sears is also included as a defendant in the case because plaintiffs say the company tried to muzzle employees upon learning of the situation in order to keep the situation under wraps.
"Gamiz regularly and frequently purported to be performing maintenance in the women's restrooms, women's dressing rooms, children's dressing rooms, air ducts and crawl spaces when no maintenance was required, requested or necessary. Gamiz would close off access to these areas such that he had the opportunity to drill the peep holes and install the video equipment without interruption," said the plaintiffs.
"By Sears intentionally turning a blind eye to Gamiz's behavior, Sears allowed Gamiz to spy for years on women and children as they undressed and used the restroom and further allowed him to record these women and children and upload their images to the internet."
Gamiz has since been released on $20,000 bail, but plaintiffs in the case are seeking compensatory and punitive damages for a number of charges, including negligent hiring (by Sears), violation of right to privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and failure to prevent harassment. The case is being represented by Michael Alder of AlderLaw of Beverly Hills.
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