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APD cruisers are parked at the department's headquarters. (FILE)

Five people report being watched or filmed in bathrooms to OUPD during 2015-16 academic year

In the most recent incident, a 33-year-old man reported being filmed in a Baker Center bathroom.

When freshman Neal Timlin was in a Baker Center restroom, he realized someone might be filming him through the crack between the door and the stall.

“I looked out the crack and saw a video phone,” Timlin, a music production major, said.

Timlin said when it happened in October, someone else in the bathroom had been taking a longer time than seemed normal.

He said he never reported the incident to the police.

“I really didn’t give a s---,” he said.

Other than Timlin’s incident, the Ohio University Police Department fielded five reports of voyeurism since the beginning of Fall Semester: two in Baker Center bathrooms, two in Alden Library bathrooms and one in Grover Center, according to the OUPD public call log. In at least four of the incidents, a male victim reported being watched or filmed in the bathroom, according to previous Post reports.

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According to previous Post reports and the OUPD public call log, incidents have included: 

  • On Jan. 16, a 33-year-old man reported allegedly being photographed in the fourth floor Baker Center bathroom to OUPD.
  • On Nov. 6, a male reported an unknown person allegedly filming him in an Alden Library restroom to OUPD. Neither the gender of the person filming or the specific bathroom was included in the police report.
  • On Oct. 31, a male student reported an unknown person possibly filming him in the sixth floor bathroom of Alden Library to OUPD. The gender of the person allegedly filming was not specified in the police report. 
  • On Oct. 7, a male student reported an unknown male watching him through the crack between the door and the wall in the first floor Baker Center bathroom to OUPD.
  • On Sept. 4, an individual reported a suspicious person in a Grover Center bathroom with a camera to OUPD. 

According to OUPD Lt. Tim Ryan, voyeurism involves an invasion of privacy for the purpose of sexual gratification. The prosecutor of a voyeurism case has to prove the surveillance is of a sexual nature. In some cases, Ryan said, the surveillance tends to speak for itself.

Ryan said the penalties for voyeurism depend on the case. At its worst, voyeurism could be a felony of the fifth degree, carrying a maximum penalty of 12 months in jail and a $2,500 fine. Additionally, someone convicted of voyeurism could be labeled a Tier I sex offender.

Ryan said voyeurism presents some challenges because it usually targets people in “compromising situations” when they might not be aware of their surroundings and be unable react quickly.

Isaac Adams, a junior studying computer science, said although he hasn't been targeted in an act of voyeurism, he wasn’t sure he would catch someone filming him in the bathroom in the first place.

“I’m not sure I would’ve noticed it,” Adams said. “I’m not usually looking around.”

Additionally, cell phone use is so common in bathrooms today that people may not notice whether they’re being filmed, Ryan said.

“Twenty years ago, if you walked into the bathroom with a big VHS camcorder, everybody’s going to be like, ‘Well, what the hell are you doing in the bathroom?’ ” Ryan said. “Now, everybody has phones with them in the bathroom.”

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Although Timlin never reported his incident to the police, he said he hopes the police solve the case.

“I think it definitely needs to be stopped,” he said. “It’s an invasion of privacy.”

@baileygallion

bg272614@ohio.edu

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