A man from Appleton, Wisconsin, was charged on Monday with emplacing a hidden camera to film women undressing in a changing room at a local Target store and other places.
Among other charges, Andrew R. Persen, 28, was charged with ten counts of filming women without consent as well as counts of invasion of privacy, and posting a sexually explicit image without consent, according to the Appleton Post-Crescent.
Target made itself vulnerable to such crimes in April 2016 when top managers decided to open its changing room and bathrooms to people of both sexes while claiming that distinctions between men and women do discriminate against people who claim to be “transgender.” The resulting consumer disgust sharply reduced the company’s sales and stock value.
— Kaeley Triller (@KaeleyT) October 25, 2017
Police allege that Persen filmed women in the Target changing room between March and April of this year. Investigators also reported finding evidence that Persen had set up a hidden camera in his own bathroom as well as the bathroom and bedroom in the house of a female acquaintance.
The police were alerted when a woman reported that she discovered a video of herself in a state of nudity posted to a pornography site, and she suspected that Persen had posted the video without her consent.
The woman said she recognized the alias name connected to the posting as a name Persen had used on social media.
“Investigators and forensic examiners are currently analyzing the defendant’s electronic devices,” said Outagamie County Assistant District Attorney Alex Duros. “We will certainly attempt to determine whether any other videos were uploaded to the internet. Also, investigators are working diligently to identify the victims of the Target incident and any other potential victims.”
Investigators report finding multiple storage devices and several other videos, including approximately 66 videos filmed in the Target store. Prosecutors also said one of the videos in the Target store showed the suspect setting up the camera, his face clearly visible.
A Target spokesman released a statement Tuesday, asking possible victims to come forward and work with police:
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 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. Since this is an active investigation, please contact law enforcement with further questions.
Persen is being held on a $10,000 cash bond. He was also ordered to stay away from his female friend, the internet, and all Target outlets. He will next appear in court on November 3.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.