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Bathroom privacy compromised in Hughes Hall

Caitlin Essig / Asst. multimedia editor

Even behind locked doors, some Ohio State students have seen the expected privacy of a bathroom stall evaporate.

An OSU employee was caught videotaping students in a second-floor bathroom of Hughes Hall on April 13, and has not yet been charged, said Deputy Chief Richard Morman of OSU Police.

By propping his cell phone against his ankle on the ground, the man turned on the camera and began recording activity in the stall next to him. Realizing the situation, one of the alleged victims grabbed the cell phone, left the restroom and reported it to University Police.

The man admitted to videotaping multiple students, and Morman said an investigation of the contents of the cell phone could reveal other alleged victims.

Morman said the man is an employee of OSU’s Wexner Medical Center as a patient care associate in the emergency room, and has been placed on indefinite leave pending the investigation and charges being filed.

University Police responded and met with the suspect at Weigel Hall, across the street from Hughes Hall. The incident was originally reported by 10TV to have happened at Weigel Hall, but Morman said the incident actually happened at Hughes Hall. Hughes Hall and Weigel Hall are part of the School of Music.

After taking the phone from the alleged victim, University Police needed to obtain a search warrant to go through the contents of the phone. Those documents listed the location as Weigel Hall. Representatives from 10TV said they are investigating the error.

Mariah Holt, a fourth-year in music, said she knows the alleged victim and the suspect, but did not feel comfortable identifying them.

“We all know who it is, but we can’t really talk about it since he hasn’t been charged yet,” Holt said.
Morman said it could be about two weeks before the investigation is complete, and charges could be filed pending the outcome of the investigation.

Holt said it is disturbing that something like this could happen.

“I spend a lot of my time in Hughes (Hall). It makes me really uncomfortable to think these people that I spend all of my time with could do something like this,” Holt said. “I think it’s a huge invasion of privacy and it makes you question if that has ever happened to you. It’s really unfortunate and I hope that it doesn’t impact the reputation of the School of Music.”

Ben Hyun, a fourth-year in music education, also said he knows the alleged victim and the person who took the video, and said they are both students in the School of Music.

“It’s absolutely ridiculous for someone to do that. It makes me feel so unsafe, especially considering that it happened in a restroom, because that is a place where you expect privacy,” Hyun said.

The man returned to University Police after the incident originally happened on April 13, and admitted to the activity and to videotaping others, Morman said.

Joe Panos, a first-year in biomedical engineering, said he hadn’t heard about the incident, but he said it’s “shocking.”

“I wouldn’t really expect that from here,” Panos said. “It makes me uncomfortable because I use those bathrooms.”

Colin Stets, a third-year in biology with a music minor, said he isn’t concerned about the incident.

“I’ve heard of a lot worse things happening,” Stets said. “If someone wants to watch me poop, I don’t care.”

Continue to check www.thelantern.com for updates on the story.

Anya Ursu and Evan Speyer contributed to this story.

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