PHOENIX (CN) - An Arizona police officer secretly filmed at least 14 nude women at a tanning salon, and was arrested for it, a married couple claim in court.
Teito and Lisa Davis sued Jeffrey Streeter, the City of Goodyear and Desert Escape Tanning Center on Dec. 3 in Maricopa County Court, alleging negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and civil rights violations.
While a detective with the Goodyear Police Department in 2014, Streeter filmed and photographed at least 14 women at the tanning salon in Avondale, the Davises say. Goodyear and Avondale are suburbs of Phoenix.
Streeter carried his "police badge, police-issued firearm, duty holster, and police-issued cell phone into defendant tanning salon with him while he videotaped or photographed nude women in the tanning salon without their knowledge or consent," the lawsuit states.
Streeter was arrested on Oct. 29, 2014. The Maricopa County Attorney's Office filed a criminal complaint against him five days later, claiming he recorded 14 women without their knowledge. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. The Nov. 3, 2014 "Release Questionnaire" in his case lists 31 counts of unlawful viewing, taping or recording of a person, and one count of tampering, altering or destroying evidence.
Streeter resigned in November 2014 - becoming the seventh Goodyear police officer to "run afoul of" the law or police regulations since May 2013, the Arizona Republic reported at the time.
Lisa Davis says she learned that Streeter had filmed her naked at the salon on the day he was charged, when an Avondale police detective showed her a photo Streeter took of her.
According to police reports, a customer at Desert Escape reported that she saw a person trying to record her while she was undressing. The woman told police she saw a square object poking over the wall that would disappear and reappear during her time in the tanning room. She told the staff at the salon what she witnessed, and was told a male customer was in that room.
A staff member at the salon told police she contacted Streeter - the male customer - about the report, and he told her "the customer in the neighboring room must have seen his gun, which he placed on top of the wall."
But police who investigated found the tanning room wall was 8 feet high, and that it was not reasonable "that anyone would place a firearm on top of an eight-foot wall with a shelf at his or her disposal."
A search warrant was executed on Streeter's cellphones, where 23 videos were found of women undressing in tanning rooms. The police report claims there were 21 victims, of whom 17 were identified by salon staff.
According to the Davises, Streeter "had been previously disciplined by the Goodyear Police Department because defendant Streeter possessed inappropriate photographs of other women on his department-issued cell phone."
They claim the tanning rooms at Desert Escape were built with only partial walls between them, leaving open space between the wall, the ceiling and floor.
"By standing on either a portion of the tanning bed or a stool located in defendant tanning salon's tanning room, an individual could extend a recording device, such as a cell phone, over the wall and take photos or video of the customers in adjacent rooms," the complaint states.
The salon did not use human or video surveillance to protect customers from voyeurs, the lawsuit says.
Tony Gilbert, the owner of Desert Escape, told Courthouse News that he and his staff were devastated by learning of the allegations against Streeter.
"We have such a great relationship with our members, so we were angry, very angry, because there is some trust there and that guy violated it," Gilbert said. "I want people to know how sorry we are that it happened in our salon, and how seriously we took it."
Despite the lawsuit's claims, Gilbert - who has owned the salon since 2012 - says the salon did have video surveillance at the time.
"It just showed the very top of the rooms," Gilbert said. "Those are eight-foot walls, which are very standard in our industry."
Since the incident, Gilbert said, he has improved the surveillance system by adding an extra camera and increasing the resolution of the cameras. He said he also increased the size of the walls by another foot, adding glass to the top of them.
"You can't see through it, you can't put your hand through it," Gilbert said.
After learning she was photographed by Streeter, Davis says she suffered depression and anxiety, leading to her admission into an inpatient treatment program. Her relationship with her husband and children and her ability to work were also harmed.
The Davises' attorney, Dan Durrant with Gillespie, Shields, Durrant and Goldfarb, did not respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Goodyear said the city does not comment on pending litigation.
The Davises seek general damages and payment for medical expenses and lost wages.Follow @@jamierossCNS
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