Voyeurism victims videotaped at gym outraged by co-worker's 'crime of opportunity' defence
Two of Alex Seymour's victims say they feel his lawyer cast blame on them
Two victims of voyeurism feel like they were being blamed for what happened to them when they heard a defence attorney in provincial court in St. John's Thursday.
Lawyer Ellen O'Gorman is representing Alex Seymour, 23, who has admitted to videotaping three women he worked with at GoodLife Fitness in Mount Pearl.
Seymour placed an iPod in their offices where they changed, and caught them in various states of nudity.
He pleaded guilty, and was convicted on Thursday.
When O'Gorman was making her sentencing submission, she said it was a "a crime of opportunity" because women who worked there got undressed.
"He won't find himself in that situation again, and if he does, he'll resist," she said.
"I felt that there was blame put on us," said Sherri O'Halloran, one of the women Seymour taped.
"I have four beautiful boys at home, and I would never, ever, expect either one of them to even think they have a right to do something like that, no matter where they are." said O'Halloran.
"We were at work. We were somewhere we were told we're safe on a daily basis."
Halloran said she used to trust Seymour so much that she let him take care of her family's home while they were away on vacation.
She was disgusted by O'Gorman's remarks in the sentencing hearing.
"For her, a woman, to get up and say that it was a 'crime of opportunity' … that he made a bad decision. That was not a bad decision, that was planned. That was done just the way he wanted it to be done."
Another of Seymour's victims, Jess Whittle, said it was hard to listen to O'Gorman submission in court.
"When his lawyer mentioned that he's just a 22-year-old boy, and it was a crime of opportunity because there are women around that get changed, is absolutely ridiculous," Whittle said.
The tapings took place between March and August of 2016.
Whittle found the iPod under her desk. She took it to her boss at GoodLife, and they confronted Seymour. He admitted it was his, but said he didn't know anything about the recording.
The Crown told the court that on the video, Seymour can be seen setting the camera up for taping.
Still living with the impact
O'Halloran says the experience has had a damaging impact on her. She doesn't easily trust any longer.
"I tend to have days where sometimes I don't want to get out of bed. And sometimes I don't know why."
Whittle said there was a lot of disbelief for her at first because Seymour was someone she had trusted and considered a friend prior to the incident.
"In the beginning, I honestly blamed myself. I thought that I had accused the wrong person," she said. "So there were a lot of weird feelings, to be honest."
Whittle said what happened changed her. She no longer trusts her own judgement of character and now second guesses what people's intentions are when she first meets them.
"Typically I would always think the best of everyone. And I don't think that all the time anymore, and that's upsetting."
Whittle also doesn't feel safe in a lot of the places she had before the incident.
During Thursday's hearing, Crown prosecutor Jennifer Colford suggested Seymour get three to six months in prison, and a period of probation.
O'Gorman said her client should get a conditional discharge or suspended sentence, and a period of probation if the judge feels it's necessary, but no jail time.
O'Halloran and Whittle, two of his three victims who were in court Thursday, think a stint in prison for Seymour is a good idea, but what they both really want is to see Seymour change.
"I want him to never do this to anybody ever again," Whittle said. "So going to prison would be great, yes, but, more than that, I would rather if this has an impact on his life so that he never makes this mistake again, and it doesn't get worse over time."
"I would like to see him have some consequences for what he's done to us," she said.
"Just being put in the media … that goes way. Yes, [news coverage of the trial is] there all the time online, but for all we know, so are our pictures."
Seymour told the court that he's sorry for what he did and apologized to his victims and his own family. He said he didn't really understand the impact until he heard O'Halloran read her victim impact statement in court.
Judge Jacqueline Brazil will sentence Seymour on May 28.
Along with deciding if he will go to prison, by law she will have to place him on the sex-offender registry for either 10 years, 20 years or life.