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Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Lawsuit: Hidden Ladies Room Cameras Found in Louisville Scottish Rite


Just what the fraternity needs - an ugly, salacious scandal hitting the nightly news.

Media outlets in Louisville, Kentucky are reporting tonight that a lawsuit has just been filed there involving the Scottish Rite Valley of Louisville concerning the accidental discovery about six months ago of surveillance cameras hidden in three ladies' rest rooms and locker room areas of the building. Metro Police have been investigating the case since this past fall and say the matter is still under review. The incident itself is not new, but the lawsuit and it now hitting the news is a new development.


WAVE-TV 3 is reporting on its website:
Two women claim they were secretly recorded while undressing in the bathroom of the Scottish Rite Freemason's Temple on Gray Street.
"And you really don't understand how a person feels until they're in that position," said one of the victims, both of whom have asked to remain anonymous.
The women said there is no way to know just how long the video cameras were hidden inside hollowed-out coat hooks that were mounted inside the women's restrooms. Nor do they know how many other women, and children, were recorded in the most private of places.
The hidden-camera hooks are available for purchase on the internet. The alleged victims said the hooks were mounted on the wall of the women's restroom within the Scottish Rite.
The camera, activated by movement, was discovered by a 27-year-old woman when she accidentally knocked it off the wall last October. She and a 53-year-old friend were both changing clothes in that restroom for a costume party.
They asked not to be identified as they spoke about the moment they pulled out the memory card and watched the video.
"Panic, shock, fear immediately," is how one of them described it.
She added that several women from the party appeared on the video, including her 17-year-old daughter. Only two were caught on camera without their clothes on. She said she was recorded while she was stripped down to her underwear. Her younger friend, seen naked from the waist up.
"There's audio on it," that woman said of the video. "You could hear people using the restroom. You could hear people's conversations. We saw ourselves on it. And most importantly the one thing we did see is Scottish Rite regalia of someone hanging the hook."
It was a red Scottish Rite hat, to be specific, but she said the face underneath that hat was obscured.
The women told a temple leader what they found, and he called Louisville Metro Police, who would find even more hidden cameras -- three in all in a total of two women's restrooms.
Police also found doubled-sided tape, the same type used to mount the hidden cameras, in each of the restroom stalls.
LMPD is now investigating it as a case of video voyeurism. And these two women said they believe they are not the only victims.
"You have to think about the other organizations that meet there," one of the victims said. "Rainbow Girls. Job's Daughters. Any kind of other events that take place there."
Said the other victim: "It's devastating. It's absolutely devastating to think someone without my knowledge has pictures of me and video of me, and has pictures of my body. It's devastating."
Michael Valenti, an attorney for the Scottish Rite, agreed to and then backed out of an interview with WAVE 3 News, citing the active criminal investigation. He said his clients have been cooperating with police. He did not respond to messages asking if he could guarantee the hidden cameras were no longer being used in the women's restrooms at the Scottish Rite Temple.
The victims have now filed a lawsuit against the Scottish Rite Foundation of Kentucky and a temple leader, for invasion of privacy and negligence.

The suit names the Consistory and its local building manager 'for negligence' as Defendants. The actual text of the lawsuit can be viewed in its entirety on Scribd HERE. No one has been charged by police or identified as the person who installed or monitored the cameras as of yet.

(As a side note, I do find it more than a little irresponsible for the reporter to show a close-up of the coat hook camera gadget and then chirpily add that such devices are easily available on the Internet. Nice way to encourage a few hundred copycats there, Scoop - right down to loads of bored teenaged boys with too much time on their hands. That's real Cronkite stuff.)

4 comments:

  1. Certainly something like this would be on the list of the top ten absolutely, positively worst things that could possibly happen in a Masonic organization.

    Although this should be obvious to anyone familiar with the Scottish Rite, the following is worth mentioning for the sake of non-Masons reading this: from the victim's descriptions, it sounds like this abomination is the work of a twisted individual, not a conspiracy of the organization itself. When would someone wearing a Scottish Rite red hat be in the building to do this? During a meeting of the Consistory, of course--suggesting that this is the only time this individual would have had access to the building; in turn, this suggests that this was someone who would not have had access to the building under normal circumstances. If this had been a conspiracy of the organization itself, they would likely have done it at an off-hour, and not in regalia.

    I do hope that there is a great deal of fingerprinting going on, and that the guilty party is identified and most vigorously prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to the full extent possible under the law.

    I mourn that we are imperfect in whom we admit to the Fraternity. I also recognize that sometimes mental illness--or simply a propensity to evil--develops in a formerly upright individual. But despite all this, I am proud to be a Scottish Rite Freemason.

    --Mark Koltko-Rivera, 32°

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  2. These stories make me a little mad. Especially because it is directly or indirectly linked to Freemasonry. No American man, woman or child should suffer the invasion of their privacy and during this present age of current events this should be the concern of all sane adults. Remember the privacy concerns when "Google Glass" first came out? The concern was mostly about the Google Glass camera which could record people without their permission. How nuts is that? I have visited the lovely enchanting city of Amsterdam, in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and noticed that in certain parts of their entertainment areas cameras of any kind are not allowed. Of course, some people may sneak a camera device past security despite the publicly displayed prohibition but I like the public Dutch attitude of respect and level of maturity regarding the privacy of it's citizens. I hope most (if not all) Americans will one day reach the same level of respect and maturity. Freemasons should already have it.

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  3. Sorry, I smell a setup. Installing a hidden camera in a red hat? Really? If we had a hidden camera pic of an Indianapolis red hat, hell, any random red cap, between me, Hodapp, and Carson, we would know who he is before lunch. This just doesn't smell right. But if it is true, than he is an idiot, and deserves the full majesty of criminal and Masonic courts.

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  4. Two thoughts on this:

    1) This certainly isn't good but I'm not concerned about this giving the fraternity a black eye. I think the public will recognize that it's the actions of one sick individual and could have happened anywhere.

    2) If we assume the perpetrator was a Mason, it's tempting to think it's the result of not properly vetting candidates but I reject that. No amount of "vetting" will reveal to you that someone is a voyeur unless they've been convicted of voyeurism. They're not creepy-looking men with unkempt beards wearing dirty raincoats and hiding in the bushes at the park. They're otherwise-ordinary people who live otherwise-normal lives like the rest of us. That guy you've known for 30 years who goes to church every week, volunteers at the homeless shelter, has a perfect-looking family and is known as a pillar of the community? You have NO IDEA what secrets he hides in the dark shadows of his own thoughts. Background checks and investigation committees are still important but we shouldn't assume that every time we find out a Mason is a bad dude that someone failed to properly vet him. It's probably not true.

    Dave Brown
    Garden City Lodge, Newtonville, MA

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