Stephen Christopher Montes, 25, was arrested in August on charges of filming students while they tried on uniforms in a storage closet at Riverdale High School.
Riverdale, pop. 3,000, is in California’s Central Valley.
In the civil complaint, his band member J. Doe claims Montes told her to remove her underwear before trying on uniforms – instructions she followed. She sued Montes and Riverdale Joint Unified School District for civil rights violations, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress, on April 15 in Superior Court.
Montes’ actions came to the attention of authorities after a band member told choir director Aaron Bryan she had found a laptop computer inside the storage room where the band changed, the criminal complaint states.
Bryan went to the room and inspected the laptop and saw that the video application was running. He replayed the most recent video, which showed Montes positioning it in the storage room, according to the criminal complaint.
Montes showed up and told Bryan he had been using the computer for “security purposes,” and forgot that it was still recording when the girls were changing, the criminal complaint states. Bryan took the computer away from Montes, over the band teacher’s objections, according to the criminal complaint.
The girl who found the computer later told the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office that Montes had asked her to try on her band uniform “without anything underneath,” according to the criminal complaint.
After she had stripped, she heard a fan running and spotted a green light from a shelf in the closet, which turned out to be Montes’ computer, the criminal complaint states.
Montes admitted to authorities that he had “been secretly filming students for a long time in hopes of catching the students fully naked and exposing their vaginal area,” according to the criminal complaint.
Authorities identified three girls Montes had videotaped.
Montes was arrested on state charges, then later indicted on three federal charges of sexual exploitation of minors. If convicted, he faces 15 to 30 years in prison on each count.
In her civil complaint, J. Doe says that Montes invited her to become a baton twirler for the band’s Majorettes. She says he asked her twice to try on Majorette uniforms.
“Montes directed J. Doe to which room to undress in order to try on various uniforms. Montes expressly directed J. Doe to remove all her clothes and her underwear before putting on the uniforms,” the complaint states.
Since Montes was arrested, Doe says, she “has become extremely self-conscious and distrustful of teachers, coaches and other authority figures.”
She seeks punitive damages.
Doe is represented by Rene Sample with Cornwell & Sample, of Fresno.
Riverdale Joint Unified School District did not respond to a request for comment.
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