'It's very traumatizing': Women allegedly filmed in grocery store washroom speak out
Two former employees of a grocery store in Saanich are speaking out in a disturbing case of alleged voyeurism.
Mallory Colter and Jennifer Burke, who worked as cashiers at the Red Barn Market at Mattick's Farm, are breaking their silence over allegations that they were secretly filmed in the bathroom by a male co-worker.
The women say they only discovered they were victims when police showed them images that surfaced on a so-called revenge porn website based in Russia.
"It's really traumatic, and really scary when something like this happens," Colter told reporters Tuesday. "I'm still learning how it affects my life, but I think that this case and dealing with this right now is helping us to move forward."
Whoever posted the pictures allegedly matched the nude photos up with the women's Facebook profile photos, their names and an offensive caption.
"I was contacted by Saanich police because they had explicit photographs of me that they believed I did not know existed," said Burke. "I was shocked and very violated. You don't know how to react, it's very traumatizing."
The women are part of a proposed class-action lawsuit against Red Barn Market and Matthew Schwabe.
They say Schwabe was an assistant manager at the time, and claim he is the one who recorded them in the washroom.
They also claim he treated female staff members in a sexually charged manner, behaviour they believe was ignored because Schwabe's father was one of the store's owners at the time.
"They created a situation where they allowed this to happen in their stores. It was well-known to management there were several claims that he had a sexually charged attitude," said Burke.
A Saanich police investigation which started in early 2016 identified at least nine women who were allegedly filmed, the majority of them Red Barn staff.
An arrest was made in the case, but police won't confirm it was Schwabe.
After two years, no charges have been laid and police say the investigation is ongoing.
The women say they're frustrated with the delay and think many more victims could be out there. The staff washroom was also occasionally used by the public.
"It could be dozens, it could be hundreds of people. We just don't know the magnitude of who's been filmed," said Colter.
Red Barn Market has acknowledged the lawsuit but declined to comment due to privacy issues. The company said it will respond in full at the appropriate time.
The lawsuit claims Schwabe left work at Red Barn sometime between 2014 and 2016.
No one has been charged criminally in connection with the alleged incidents, and none of the allegations in the civil claim have been proven in court.
All of the recordings allegedly took place sometime between 2009 and 2014, according to the claim.
Police say they have executed search warrants, obtained evidence and notified all known victims that they had been recorded.
They say the two-year investigation remains active and is ongoing.