Memo to Colleges and Universities: THIS Is How to Handle Pervert Employees
I just got an email from my alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, about “a Rensselaer employee who was dismissed from his position and arrested” after allegedly installing a hidden camera in a women’s locker room at one of the university’s athletic facilities. According to a press release issued one week after the device was found:
On the evening of Thursday, March 8, a motion-sensitive video camera was discovered in the locker room of an athletic facility on the Rensselaer Troy campus. Following a swift investigation that evening and the morning of March 9, evidence pointed to a particular Rensselaer employee. We took immediate steps, including, but not limited to, the prompt dismissal of the employee in question, barring him from the campus, and blocking all forms of building and electronic access. Also on Friday, March 9, we contacted the Troy Police Department and turned over all results of our internal investigation and all related evidence. The Troy Police Department has launched a full investigation of this matter. The Rensselaer Public Safety Department continues to work with the Troy Police in the investigation.
The Troy Record reported the day after the press release that the alleged perpetrator was arrested, arraigned, and pleaded not guilty to setting up a motion-activated recording device in the ceiling of a women’s locker room inside the university’s swimming and diving facility. Unfortunately for the alleged perpetrator, the device itself implicated him.
[According] to police, the camera captured a still photograph of him installing the camera.
After it was hidden in the ceiling, the camera did take still photographs of “three to four adult women” in various stages of undress during the evening hours of March 8, said Capt. John Cooney.
It was discovered by one of the victims, who saw something wrong with the ceiling and upon closer inspection noticed it appeared to be a camera lens. The victim notified authorities at RPI who, in turn, called Troy police.
Reading about the ugly incident reminded me of the Pennsylvania State University scandal involving the alleged molestation of several youngsters by an assistant football coach. Not that I am equating the situations at RPI and Penn State. All of the RPI victims are reported to be adults, none was molested or assaulted, and the offending employee was not someone in a position of authority.
Nonetheless, it appears that a crime was committed and the privacy of several women breached in a manner that most of us would describe as creepy in the extreme. The actions of the administration and, subsequently, the police were swift and appropriate. Those actions not only prevented so much as the appearance of a damaging Penn State-style coverup, but more importantly they minimized the number of victims.
As an RPI alumna, I am proud that the university did not only the sensible thing but the just thing. It does no good and lots of harm to cover for (alleged) sexual predators and believe they can be dealt with secretly. Indeed, such people rely on secrecy to do their deeds, and giving them what they rely on merely enables them. If Penn State was a warning to other organizations of what not to do, let RPI be an example of doing it right.