A B.C. Supreme Court announcement is supporting a civil suit led by two former employees of the Red Barn Market at Mattick’s Farm, who are seeking damages from a former coworker that secretly recorded them, and other women, using an employees-only washroom.
The claim is from Mallory Colter and Jennifer Burke and represents at least six more women. It alleges Matthew Schwabe, a former employee of Red Barn Market, set up a video camera in the washroom during various times between 2009 and 2014. The plaintiffs were “recorded while changing and toileting,” which resulted in “explicit images and identifying information” shared to an unknown extent.
Early in 2016 Saanich Police approached the complainants and made them aware that their images were showing up on a “revenge porn” website, on a Russian porn site, and are believed to have been shared with other websites as well. At the time, Colter was shown the images of six more people which she immediately identified as five other Red Barn employees.
Schwabe was also noted in the court document for exposing himself to a former female Red Barn employee during an early morning shift, which went unsanctioned.
Schwabe worked at the Cordova Bay store from 2009 until sometime between 2014 and 2016. His property was searched during a 2016 arrest by Saanich Police, which led to a continued investigation, although he was released at the time.
This week Justice Brian MacKenzie supported the class action suit in moving forward.
Among Colter and Burke’s chief concerns are acquiring the images and videos that were recorded and possibly shared. The group included a specific request to access those images from the Saanich Police, which the court upheld (and which the Saanich Police is complying with, having asked for 60 days to do so).
Colter and Burke are particularly upset that they and the other victims do not yet know the extent of the images shared.
“There could be dozens of people filmed,” Burke said last year. “The videos were taken in a space [people] believed was private and ought to have been private,” added Colter.
This week’s court document noted Schwabe has since filed bankruptcy but the judge questioned whether the bankruptcy is warranted to protect him from such a crime.