Charles Gregory Vergin during his preliminary appearance in the Whatcom County Superior Court on Friday, May 18. // Photo by Julia Berkman
Note: The Western Front has elected not to use the names of either reporting student, and have instead substituted their names with “Student 1” and “Student 2.”
A 57-year-old Bellingham man pleaded not guilty to charges of voyeurism, a Class C felony, and stalking, a gross misdemeanor, after he was arrested in Wilson Library on Thursday, May 17.
Vergin was arrested on the evening of May 17 at Wilson Library after a student (Student 2) who observed him taking photos of female students called University Police, Deputy Prosecutor Jonathan Richardson said.
According to court records, Student 2 had seen a man in Wilson Library taking photos of students’ feet and up the skirts of female students from underneath desks on May 15.
Student 2 was able to identify the suspect and University Police found Vergin on the fourth floor of Wilson Library on Thursday evening, according to Richardson.
Vergin was arrested after dropping a small camera while being interviewed by University Police, Richardson said.
According to Richardson, Vergin then admitted to the police that he had taken photos of various women in the library.
According to a Western Alert advisory email sent out on Friday, May 18, he is trespassed from campus, and that it is unclear if this case is related to other incidents of voyeurism on or around campus.
Another student (Student 1) also filed a report regarding Vergin’s behavior on March 13 and May 17, according to court records.
After an encounter with Vergin at the library on March 13, where he sat across from her, touched her foot with his and appeared to look down her shirt, Student 1 told the circulation desk, who called University Police to report him, court records said.
Stephanie Morgan is a library and archives paraprofessional at circulation services in Wilson Library.
“Whenever there is a problem we can’t handle, we call the police,” she said.
Morgan declined to comment on how many reports circulation services receives.
According to Richardson, the responding University Police officers asked Vergin to leave the library.
On May 8, Student 1 then saw Vergin staring at her on her way home and avoided entering her house within his line of sight, according to court records.
Then on May 16, Student 1 saw Vergin at the library and left, according to the court records. Vergin then also left the library and looked at the student until her bus came, court records show.
At 8:07 a.m. on May 17, Student 1 filed another report with the University Police, according to court documents.
That same day, University Police received a report from Student 2, claiming he had seen a man taking photos of students, court records said. Police were able to link the two cases, court records show. Both students were later able to positively identify Vergin, Richardson said.
Vergin was issued a harassment no-contact order against Student 1, but it is unclear when.
Vergin was booked into Whatcom County Jail at approximately 10 p.m. on May 17, according to the jail roster.
He made his preliminary appearance at 3 p.m. on May 18 at Whatcom County Superior Court.
Vergin has lived in the Bellingham area since 1975 and currently resides with his father and siblings, his father said.
He was released on bail from the Whatcom County Jail at approximately 7:45 p.m. on Friday, May 18, according to the Whatcom County Jail releases website.
Vergin’s family was approached in court and declined to comment.
Vergin’s trial is scheduled for August 6, 2018.
*This story was updated on Wednesday, May 30, at 5:45 p.m.