An employee of retail giant Target was arrested in Columbus, Ohio, after a 12-year-old boy reported that the employee was taking video of unsuspecting customers in the store’s restroom.
The arrest came after the boy’s mother called police in November to report that her son had seen someone’s hand, holding a cell phone, appear underneath his stall in the store, ABC noted.
Police reportedly reviewed store surveillance footage and found that Target employee Matthew Lively, 31, had entered the store’s restroom after the child went in and did not emerge until after the boy left.
Police say that upon questioning, Lively not only confessed to recording the boy, but said that he had recorded other customers in the store restroom, as well.
Police confiscated the employee’s phone and found recordings of others whom they are now attempting to identify.
Columbus police officer Kelly Shay praised the boy for speaking up about what occurred.
“It’s still important to talk to your children about inappropriate behavior and private body parts and when you’re in your bathroom or any restroom that is supposed to be a private space, it’s not for anyone to observe or certainly not take photos or film,” officer Shay said. “When someone is in danger or doing something that hurts another person, it’s important to tell because you’re not snitching you’re helping. You’re helping keep that from happening to the next person.”
So far, the Target employee is being charged with one second-degree felony count, but prosecutors expect more charges will follow. Lively was charged with one count of illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance, a crime that carries a maximum eight-year prison sentence. The suspect was given a $150,000 bond in court on December 14.
The arrest comes on the heels of months of falling stock prices as Target reaps the consequences of its corporate decision to allow transgender employees and customers to pick whichever restroom or changing room they want to use at any given time.
Target Corp. released a statement about the Columbus incident:
At Target, our guests are at the center of everything we do and our commitment to creating a safe and secure shopping environment in our stores is unwavering. As a part [of] this commitment to safety, we have robust procedures, policies and trainings in place to ensure that our stores are safe places to shop and work.
Target is fully cooperating with law enforcement in this case. As this is an active investigation, please contact local law enforcement with further questions.
Regarding your question around employment at Target: I’m unable to share details on employment due to confidentiality.
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