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Six Officers Say Fellow Cop Betrayed Them

EUGENE, Ore. (CN) - Six Oregon police officers filed a $1.75 million lawsuit claiming a brother in blue used hidden cameras to shoot video of their genitals in a bathroom and post it on the Internet.

Lead plaintiff Nicholas Ray Miller sued former Officer Jeffrey Wayne Argo - who is in prison - the Eugene Police Department and the City of Eugene for invasion of privacy and negligent hiring and retention.

Miller et al. say Argo photographed and videotaped "plaintiff officers' genitals while said officers were urinating in the bathroom of the changing room at the Eugene Police Department headquarters."

Plaintiff Matthew Frutiger, a Gresham, Ore. police officer, says he roomed with Argo at the police academy in Salem in 2012. There, Frutiger says, Argo dressed himself in Frutiger's Marine Corps uniform, took pictures of his own penis and published them on the Internet. Frutiger claims that Argo also took photos of him in "various stages of undress."

"These images, which are now in all probability untraceable and undeletable, were distributed and published via the Internet without the plaintiff officers' knowledge or consent," the complaint states.

Argo, 41, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in April this year and is serving a 7-year sentence, according to the Eugene Register-Guard.

"During the sentencing hearing, Eugene Police Chief Pete Kerns told a judge that Argo's bizarre behavior was difficult to comprehend, violated the trust of the police department and disrupted the sanctuary that the department is expected to provide to officers," the newspaper reported.

Eugene police said they could not comment on a pending lawsuit.

The behavior apparently was not limited to fellow police officers. Argo admitted he filmed four high school track team members at a rest stop in Clackamas County in April 2012, according to the Register-Guard.

"It is further known and reported that defendant Argo produced, published and collected child pornography during the term of his employment with defendant," the complaint states.

"He ... duplicated about 20 images of child pornography onto his Google Drive account," the Register-Guard reported. "Those images later came to the attention of authorities, which prompted the state Department of Justice investigation."

The plaintiff officers say Argo should never have been hired and that the department failed to conduct due diligence.

"Defendant EPD failed to adequately, properly and fully conduct a complete and thorough background investigation of Jeffrey Wayne Argo prior to employing him with the Eugene Police Department," the complaint states. "Had a full and complete background investigation been conducted it would have revealed that Jeffrey Wayne Argo was neither fit nor appropriate for hire as a Eugene Police Department officer."

The officers' attorney, Marc Friedman, did not respond to phone calls on Friday.

Each officer seeks $200,000 in damages, except Frutiger, who seeks $250,000 for embarrassment and humiliation, in addition to invasion of privacy. They also collectively seek compensatory damages of $500,000 on their eighth claim, against the Eugene Police Department, for negligent hiring and retention.

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