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Couple in voyeurism case awarded $1m by Washington state judge

By / September 8, 2018

Aquatic center employee videotaped women in changing area and woman said secret recording affected her marriage and lifestyle

A judge has awarded a couple $1m in damages in a voyeurism case after they sued a former lifeguard and local city employee who admitted to videotaping women while they used a staff changing area at an aquatic center in Washington state.

The woman in the lawsuit said the secret video taping has caused her mental anguish, altered her marriage and lifestyle and diminished her love for swimming because of the anxiety she feels when changing into a swimsuit, the Bellingham Herald reported.

The woman and her husband, who have not been named in the media, filed a lawsuit against the suspect in the case and the city of Bellingham, around 90 miles north of Seattle.

Judge Raquel Montoya-Lewis awarded $750,000 to the woman and $250,000 to her husband – more than their lawyer had asked for.

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“It feels like a physical assault on my privacy and dignity,” the female plaintiff told the court. “I feel like my privacy has been violated as a woman.”

Since the secret recordings had been revealed, the effects on the woman have been profound, the court was told. She sometimes feels like she is being watched, avoids unnecessary social interactions, acts cautiously in private places, and had difficulty changing into a swimsuit or shorts because she feels exposed. She said she has had panic attacks and that it is distressing to have her day interrupted with intrusive thoughts.

City employee David Frick worked at the aquatic center where the woman was a lifeguard at the center’s public swimming pools.

The lawsuit alleged that beginning in mid-2015, Frick, 55, began recording the woman and other center employees while they used the bathroom and staff locker room to change, according to court records.

The lawsuit stated Frick’s alleged actions violated the woman’s privacy, created a hostile work environment, constitute sexual harassment and caused intentional and negligent emotional distress, ultimately causing her to be unable to perform her job duties for some time.

The woman’s husband, whose hobby is photography and videography, said he has become hyper-vigilant of where his cameras are pointed due to the stress it causes his wife. He said they also took down old camera decorations throughout their house.

“She’s a different person because of it. It’s affected everything with us,” he said.

The court dismissed the woman’s claims against the city in March. Five other women have also sued the city and Frick.

Frick also faces criminal charges relating to voyeurism and child abuse images. Frick was arrested in August 2016 after police received a tip, and he resigned from his job shortly afterwards. His criminal trial is due to begin in late August.

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