Will Be Heard
STEVE CRANE JR is the Attorney that gets you justice for INVASION OF PRIVACY.
PEEPING TOMS, SECRET VIDEOTAPING, AND VOYEURISM
STEVE CRANE IS RECOGNIZED FOR SECURING JUSTICE FOR VICTIMS AND SURVIVORS OF VOYEURISM
Peeping Tom is a slang term for voyeurism. Voyeurism is a crime. It involves the act of spying on other people in a place where the person being spied on has a reasonable expectation of privacy, that is, a trust and feeling of assurance that no one can see you. When that trust is broken, the consequences can be devastating. “It feels like a physical assault on my privacy and dignity,” a plaintiff told the court. The plaintiff, who had been secretly videotaped in a changing area, added, “I feel like my privacy has been violated as a woman.”
Voyeurism and secret videotaping is a form of sexual abuse because it is usually committed for the purpose of sexual gratification. The spying may include taking pictures or video of anyone changing in a dressing room, showering in a locker room or use a restroom.
Voyeurism and secret videotaping is also a form of commercial misappropriation. Someone is secretly recording you, generally naked, and looking to sell the recording to the highest bidder on the internet. An ESPN reporter was secretly videotaped in her hotel room. The perpetrator attempted to sell the video. Eventually, the video was uploaded to the internet. The video has received over 17 million views online.
Any time a camera, or a cell phone with a camera, is placed in an area for the purpose of making a video of someone who is expecting privacy, this is considered unlawful surveillance.
Also, voyeurism and secret videotaping can be used as a tool by rapists and sex traffickers to pressure their victims into remaining silent about their abuse. This other form of voyeurism is referred to as “revenge porn” or nonconsensual pornography, which is the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of someone without their consent.
Secret videotaping can cause mental anguish, alter marriage and lifestyle and because of the anxiety felt the trust you expect of feeling safe and secure in a private place has been broken.
Steve Crane holds peeping Toms accountable
Steve Crane and his team are deeply committed and driven to help victims recover whatever has been taken from them together with recovery for what they have suffered and lost as a result of sexual abuse and assaultive acts by another in their childhood or as an adult.
Steve is relentless in his pursuit of being the victim’s champion. Why? What lit this intense fire in him?
Early in his life, Steve witnessed pre-teens and teens being bullied, hazed, and attacked by other pre-teens and teens. The perpetrators attacked because they could. They had power and dominance, while the victims did not. For each attack, Steve stepped in and stopped it. Steve has always remained vigilant, highly insightful, compassionate, approachable, tolerant, and understanding the pain endured by others.
Steve is personally and professionally driven to help victims of past and present sex abuse, bullying, hazing and physical assaults to find safety, to recover and put their lives back together. He is truly a comforting light – assuring protection, and safety in addition to winning the financial compensation his clients deserve for their pain and loss.
If you are a victim or survivor of sexual abuse, you should contact experienced and respected attorney Steve Crane. He and his team can assess the facts of your case and help you in a trusted, private and secure manner determine the best course of action to move forward.
To schedule a discrete and confidential consultation about your matter, email or call us at (833) 855-4400.
Where Does Voyeurism Take Place?
A landlord might install cameras to record tenants or a roommate records their roommates undressing, using the bathroom, taking showers or during sexual activity this is considered voyeurism.
In 2000, in Michigan, a man used binoculars and a zoom lens to see into the bedroom of a teenage girl.
In 2003, in Michigan, a woman was awarded $250,000 after being secretly videotaped in a changing room at a modeling agency.
In 2009, in Tennessee, an ESPN reporter was secretly videotaped naked in her hotel room. It ended in a $55 million dollar verdict.
In 2018, in Washington, a former lifeguard and local city employee who admitted to videotaping women while they used a staff changing area at an aquatic center.
Your Feelings of Insecurity and Distrust are Understandable
If you have been secretly videotaped or recorded, you have a right to feel violated. A hotel, restroom, and dressing or fitting room are private spaces, most everyone can relate to a victim’s experience as incredibly invasive. People have the familiarity of staying at a hotel and other private spaces. These private spaces naturally invoke feelings of safety and ignited personal fears and protective instincts. When anyone walks into hotels or any public building it is reasonably expected that the property owner is going to take care of us that they take care of us, and assure us we feel safe and secure while at their property.
Federal and Michigan Law Protect Against “Peeping Toms”
At the federal level the United States enacted the Video Voyeurism Prevention Act of 2004 (18 U.S.C. § 1801) to punish those who intentionally make an image of an individual’s private areas without consent, when the person knew the subject had an expectation of privacy. This act applies only in areas under federal jurisdiction. A violation of the federal law carries fines of up to $100,000 and up to one year in prison
In Michigan, it is unlawful to install, place, or use in any private place, without the consent of the person or persons entitled to privacy in that place, any device for observing, recording, transmitting, photographing, or eavesdropping upon the sounds or events in that place.
Penalties for Peeping Toms & Voyeurism
- First Offense Simple Voyeurism: Felony; 2 years in prison, 5 years of court-supervised probation, and a $2,000.00 fine.
- First Offense Photographing or Recording a Person in Underwear or Naked: Felony; 2 years in prison, 5 years of court-supervised probation, and a $2,000.00 fine.
- First Offense Distributing, Disseminating, or Transmitting a Photograph or Recording of a Person in Underwear or Naked: Felony; 2 years in prison, 5 years of court-supervised probation, and a $2,000.00 fine.
- Second Offense Simple Voyeurism: Felony; 5 years in prison, 5 years of court-supervised probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.
- Second Offense Photographing or Recording a Person in Underwear or Naked: Felony; 5 years in prison, 5 years of court-supervised probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.
- Second Offense Distributing, Disseminating, or Transmitting a Photograph or Recording of a Person in Underwear or Naked: Felony; 5 years in prison, 5 years of court-supervised probation, and a $5,000.00 fine.
What to Do If You Were a Victim of a Peeping Tom?
File a police report. If you want to pursue jail time for the offender, you will need to contact the local police department to file a report. The district attorney would then decide whether to pursue criminal charges.
Get the images taken down. A sexual abuse lawyer should be able to help you get the explicit content immediately removed if you have had no success on your own. Google provides instructions for filling out a removal request. Following Google’s lead, Facebook added the capability to report intimate images shared without the subject’s consent.
File a civil lawsuit. Filing a civil lawsuit for revenge porn provides you the opportunity to recover compensation for your personal losses. Depending on the nature of the distribution, the court may award compensation for distress, emotional pain and suffering, and lost wages or future earning capacity.
In order to obtain civil recovery, your lawyer must prove that:
- the defendant possessed the pornographic material
- the plaintiff is clearly identifiable, with intimate parts showing or a sexual act performed
- the defendant intentionally posted, published, or distributed the content
- the defendant knew—or should have known—the distribution would cause harm
- the plaintiff suffered severe distress or losses resulting from the defendant’s actions
There may be other aspects that may need to be proven but unlike in criminal court, you need only establish liability by a preponderance—or majority—of the evidence. Simply put, in a civil case, the judge and at least nine out of the 12 jury members must agree that it’s at least 51% likely the alleged act was committed, as opposed to convincing all 12 jurors the defendant is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, as with a criminal case.
What is Revenge Porn?
Revenge Porn is the distribution of sexually explicit images or videos of someone without their consent. This form of sexual abuse includes images obtained with consent, often within the context of an intimate relationship, as well as images that were obtained without consent, such as recordings from hidden cameras, stolen personal records, or recordings of sexual crimes.
The term “revenge porn,” a popular slang term for nonconsensual pornography. Revenge porn has similar qualities to voyeurism. However, it is different because the victim knows the perpetrator. Revenge porn occurs when a person posts another’s sexually explicit photographs online as an act of revenge. However, perpetrators of this form of sexual abuse are not always motivated by revenge or personal animus towards the victim. By legal standards, there is no need to prove revenge as a motive.
Nonconsensual pornography is a particularly pernicious form of abuse that can devastate the victim’s relationships and limit their future educational and employment opportunities. Even more reprehensible, it is often used as a tool by rapists and sex traffickers to pressure their victims into remaining silent about their abuse.
Michigan’s revenge porn statute, Michigan Compiled Law 750.145e, provides that a person shall not intentionally and with the intent to threaten, coerce, or intimidate disseminate any sexually explicit visual material of another person.
Recently, A defendant in a revenge pornography case has been ordered to pay $100,000 to his ex-girlfriend despite not publishing any pornographic content online.
Michigan’s revenge porn statute MCL 750.145e http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(ogyoirzmy5uhyuvz1qqvoe5e))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-750-145e)
How Much Is a Civil Lawsuit Worth?
If successful, a revenge porn lawsuit can provide you with compensation to cover past, present, and future psychological counseling bills, as well as lost wages and loss of future earning capacity. You may sue for compensation to cover the expunging of the material from the internet. If you require medication or suffered self-harm injuries, you can seek compensation to cover related medical expenses. Punitive damages may be awarded, escalating the amount into thousands or millions of dollars.
Case Study: Voyeurism Case in Washington State
In 2018, a Washington State couple was awarded $1,000,000 in damages in a voyeurism case. A former lifeguard secretly videotaped a couple while they used a staff changing area at an aquatic center.
The wife said the secret videotaping 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 wife and her husband have maintained their privacy and were not been named in the media.
The couple filed a lawsuit against the defendant a Bellingham city employee who worked at the local aquatic center where the woman was a lifeguard at the center’s public swimming pools.
The lawsuit stated the defendant 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.
Since the secret recordings had been revealed, the effects on the woman have been profound. 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.
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.
The court awarded $750,000 to the wife and $250,000 to her husband, amounts greater than what their lawyer had requested.
Case Study: Revenge Porn Case in Michigan
In April of 2018, the defendant texted the plaintiff an image and video. He told her that the image and video were recording the two of them having sex while they were dating. The defendant claimed that he posted them on a pornography website without her knowledge or consent. The defendant further claimed in the text messages that the videos had been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, including by the defendant’s co-workers.
A reverse Google image search showed that the defendant never posted the image that the plaintiff received from the defendant. The image in the text message was that of just a random woman. Regardless, the defendant willfully intended the plaintiff to believe she was the woman in the text. The plaintiff was victimized in an invasive manner even though no pornographic content was ever posted online!
Your Right to Confidentiality and Privacy
A child is entitled to privacy under State and Federal Law. Michigan Courts will protect your right to file as a “Jane or John Doe” to permit a child to maintain anonymity and privacy while still allowing you to pursue justice.
An adult is entitled to privacy too. When possible, Steve will file your case as “Jane or John Doe.” This can keep your identity private, while still allowing you to pursue the deserved justice.
If you are a survivor of sexual abuse or assault, it is important that you have legal counsel that understands and has the compassion to address the damages you have suffered emotionally and physically.
You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by speaking with Steve Crane and his team regarding your safety, good name, and legal options. Steve has helped many victims of sexual assault and abuse obtain substantial recoveries when they were abused.
Contact Steve Crane now and be assured he will discreetly and in full confidence discuss your case. To schedule a discrete and confidential consultation about your matter, email or call him at (833) 855-4400.
When Does the Clock Start to Tick for Filing a Civil Lawsuit?
The “statute of limitations” is a term used by courts to describe the maximum amount of time plaintiffs can wait before bringing a lawsuit after the events they are suing over took place. This time limit is set by state law and is intended to promote fairness and keep old cases from clogging the courts. In the publication of private facts cases, the statute of limitations ordinarily runs from the date of first publication of the offending facts.
In Michigan, the statute of limitations for intrusion cases (“peeping Tom” cases) is most likely 3 years. There is no specific statute governing the limitation period for a right to privacy suit. It is likely that courts would not apply the 1-year statute of limitations for libel. See Michigan Compiled Law 600.5805(9). Rather, a court would likely apply the general 3-year statute of limitations for injury to person or property when reviewing an intrusion claim. See Michigan Compiled Law 600.5805(10). In addition, a publication of private facts claim could be governed by the general three-year statute of limitations for negligence claims. See Michigan Compiled Law 600.5805(8).
The statute of limitations varies for sexual abuse and when the victim is a minor. Michigan Compiled Law 600.5851b(1)(a) allows children (minors) until age 28 to file a civil lawsuit, or under Michigan Compiled Law 600.5851b(1)(b), within three years of discovering the harm, whichever is later.
Michigan Compiled Law 600.5805(6) affords adult victims 10 years from the most recent incident to bring a case against the abuser.
DISCLAIMER: The information in this blog is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information contained in this blog or on this website should be construed as legal advice from Crane Law PLLC or Steve Crane, Esq. Neither your receipt of information from this website nor your use of this website to contact Crane Law PLLC or Steve Crane, Esq. creates an attorney-client relationship between you and the firm or any of its lawyers. No reader of this website should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information included in, or accessible through, this website without seeking the appropriate legal advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s jurisdiction.