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A former Missouri fitness center employee is accused of taking pictures and video of naked women, including his girlfriend, sister and dozens of women tanning at a gym and posting the images to a Russian photo-sharing website.
Michael A. Koch has been charged with two counts of invasion of privacy and one count of attempted invasion of privacy after the Department of Homeland Security found 175 images of women in various states of undress that Koch had allegedly posted to the website, according to St. Louis news station KTVI.
The Russians reported the images to Homeland Security, who were able to link the images to Koch through an email address connected to his Facebook and Pinterest accounts, along with an IP address.
Investigators believe Koch had been taking photos and video of women undressing in a private tanning booth at the gym where he worked for years, dating back to May 2016.
On Sept. 17, 2018 a woman who had been undressing at the gym noticed a cell phone was being held over the partition wall. She reported the intrusion to staff at the gym who contacted St. Peters Police Department.
Koch is also accused of posting photos and videos of his nude girlfriend engaging in sexual acts with him, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The images were captured without her knowledge and later posted online.
He also reportedly photographed his own sister naked with a hidden camera installed in the bathroom of the home where they both lived, charging documents obtained by the local paper said. His sister was also not aware the images had been taken.
The St. Peters Police Department is now trying to identify other potential victims and has asked anyone who has tanned at the Club Fitness in O’Fallon, Missouri in 2016 or 2017 to contact authorities. They said in a statement announcing the charges that the images were taken only in tanning areas of the gym.
Authorities believe 41 different women were photographed, KTVI reports.
Club Fitness, the gym where Koch had worked for years, released a statement after the arrest stressing the importance of privacy.
“Club Fitness takes every measure to ensure the personal privacy and security of our employees and members,” they wrote in the statement according to KMOV. “Should there be any suspicions or reports about inappropriate actions or privacy abuse, we will contact authorities immediately.”
Koch has been released from jail after posting a $15,000 bond.
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