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Published: Saturday, 4/27/2002

Another alleged victim sues estate over videotaping

GIBSONBURG, Ohio - A Gibsonburg woman claims the local insurance agent accused of secretly videotaping people showering and using the bathroom in their apartments and at his office also pointed his camera across the street at her home.

Amy Randolph is suing the estate of James Rogers and its executor, Dean Rogers, for more than $25,000. The suit, filed Thursday in Sandusky County Common Pleas Court, also names a John Doe as a co-defendant.

For years, Mr. Rogers videotaped unsuspecting residents of the duplex he owned, police said. He had cameras hidden in many rooms in the ceiling. One was hidden behind a block of wood made to look like a smoke detector, court records state.

In her suit, Ms. Randolph said she believes she was videotaped from across Madison Street more than once, and the tapes were distributed over the Internet or to other parties. She said the discovery caused her “serious emotional stress and humiliation.”

The suit alleges someone had to have helped Rogers with videotaping and distributing the tapes because Rogers was a double amputee.

Mike Benton, Gibsonburg police chief, said yesterday no other suspects have been identified.

The case broke when a resident noticed something odd about the bathroom ceiling above the shower and notified police. Officers found a camera hidden there.

While police were searching his house Jan. 19, Mr. Rogers, 55, pulled out a gun and fatally shot himself in the head. He had not been charged. The warrant stated police were looking for evidence for a possible charge of voyeurism, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Authorities have looked through the hundreds of tapes found in the home, many of them labeled with victims' names and the situations in which they were taped, Chief Benton said. More than 650 people have been taped; a number of them have filed lawsuits.

The chief said he expected to wrap up the case by the end of May.

In light of the incident, state Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont) is pushing legislation that would make it a fourth-degree felony for people to secretly videotape, film, photograph, or otherwise record a person in a private place.

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