Coal Grove man arrested for voyeurism

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 29, 2007

BURLINGTON — An employee at the Burlington Lowe’s who was arrested Monday on voyeurism charges placed a video camera under a stall to film a victim in the women’s restroom, according to police reports.

John Friend, 25, of Coal Grove, has an arraignment scheduled for Friday in Lawrence County Municipal Court.

While the woman was using the facilities, she noticed someone holding a camera under the stall wall, according to the report.

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The Ironton Tribune typically does not publish the names of potential victims of sex crimes.

She told her husband what had happened and when Friend came out of the women’s restroom, the husband restrained him until a store manager came to their aid.

The camera Friend allegedly used is the property of the store. When the content was reviewed, no pictures were found, but it did contain video.

Lawrence County Sheriff Tim Sexton said one of the victims was identified by her clothing.

“There were at least two people that day that this occurred to, but one is unidentified,” Sexton said. “I don’t even know if the other victim knows they’re a victim.”

According to the report, Friend admitted to Detective Andrew Sisler that he used the camera in the restroom to tape females using the toilet. He claimed to be in the women’s restroom for a different reason, a prearranged meeting with an unknown female.

Friend has allegedly been corresponding with the woman through messages written on the toilet paper dispenser. Sisler did report seeing sexually explicit writing on the dispenser.

Friend told authorities that he had never done anything like this before and said he had made a mistake.

“These are things you didn’t see 10 or 20 years ago. I don’t know what the purpose of this person’s actions were, but believe it or not, there are people who put this type of stuff out on the Internet,” Sexton said. “I don’t know if that has anything to do with this case, but it’s unusual for us to see.

Maybe one or two a year.”

Sexton said Friend has no prior criminal history and there is no indication that he had committed acts of voyeurism before.

Lowe’s Companies public relations spokeswoman Maureen Rich said the company has no comment.

“Lowe’s takes this situation very seriously and is cooperating fully with local law enforcement’s investigation,” Rich said.

Sexton said the case is still under investigation.