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Monday, August 3, 2020

Voyeurism charges dropped against former Dining Services employee

UDPATE, Jan. 16, 2018: Prosecutors dropped charges against Gregory J. Ward in December 2017. According to Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erik Sigmar, the man who was initially filmed attested that it was consensual. Sigmar said it appears filming the woman was not intentional. 

By Logan Portteus

A former University Dining Services employee is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 3 for a pretrial hearing to answer to voyeurism charges. Gregory J. Ward, University Dining Services’ former director of catering, was arrested on suspicion of filming campers in the shower without their consent, according to Washington State Superior Court documents.

A camper at Larrabee State Park told authorities she found a hidden camera in the unisex shower on Aug. 24, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office incident report.

The camera was reportedly found in a pair of underwear underneath a small bench in the shower in the north campground of the park.

The woman who found the camera told authorities she saw a man in dark-colored shorts and a hoodie enter and exit the shower prior to her using the facility, according to the incident report.

After authorities obtained and examined the footage, the report states Ward is seen placing the camera in the shower with clothing that matched the victim’s description.

In a follow-up contact with Ward included in the incident report, Ward reportedly said he was attempting to film his friend in the shower and had no intention of recording others.

“Gregory indicated that he wanted to get his boyfriend on video, but before he could get the camera out a woman walked into the shower. Gregory stated that he panicked and did not know what to do and he was too embarrassed to talk to the woman so he could retrieve the camera,” Detective Ken Gates said in the incident report.

When detectives spoke with the male Ward intended to film, he said he was not his boyfriend, Detective Derek Bogle said in the report.

In addition to footage of the female victim showering before finding the camera, the memory card had footage of the male Ward had intended to film showering in the same stall at a different time. According to the report, Ward stated that the male was unaware that the camera was in the shower.

Although the man Ward said he intended to capture on video is not pressing charges, the woman who found the camera told Bogle she will be, the report said.

Voyeurism in the first degree is a class C felony in Washington state, punishable by up to five years in a state correctional institution and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Ward terminated his employment with University Dining Services effective July 1, 2017, Resident District Manager Stephen Wadsworth said in an email.

Ward and his lawyer were not available for comment at the time of publication.

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