Eavesdropping and voyeurism are on the rise against women across the United States.
A Greenville man is facing 16 felony charges after deputies say he took pictures of women with a hidden camera. Eric Zobre is charged with two counts of secret peeping, nine counts of possession of images from secret peeping, disclosure of private images, third-degree sexual exploitation of a minor, larceny by employee, and two counts of violating a domestic violence protective order. Zobre was arrested after someone did the right thing by going to the authorities, and reported that he had been showing various nude photos of women to them, talking about how he got them. Zobre is being charged with stealing items from his employer Grady White Boats.
Pitt County detectives and those from Atlantic Beach police were able to identify multiple victims, including an underage girl, taken in bathrooms. The police also said, they also found numerous photos of Zobre’s previous partners, apparently used to hurt the victim's character.
What do Eavesdropping and Peeping Toms mean?
The term “peeping tom”, as used in this section, is defined as a person who peeps through windows, doors, or other like places, on or about the premises of another, to spy upon or invade the privacy of the person spied upon and any other conduct of a similar nature, that tends to invade the privacy of others. The term “peeping tom” also includes any person who employs the use of video or audio equipment.
Eavesdropping is the unauthorized real-time interception of private communication, such as a phone call, instant message, videoconference, or fax transmission.
What is Voyeurism?
Voyeurism is defined as an interest in observing unsuspecting people while they undress, are naked, or engage in sexual activities. The interest is usually more in the act of watching, rather than in the person being watched. The person doing the watching is called a voyeur, but you might hear them casually referred to as a peeping Tom.
A key element of voyeurism is that the person being watched doesn’t know they’re being observed. The person is typically in a place where they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as their home or another private area.
A person can be diagnosed with Voyeuristic disorder which is a paraphilic disorder if the person has been engaging in such activity for six months or more.
More and more women are becoming victims of peeping toms and voyeurism. A few years ago, a North Carolina man was charged for placing a hidden camera in a women's room. Invading someone's privacy is a Federal Crime according to Congress.gov. There are no Government agencies or Contractors who have the authority to place hidden cameras to watch anyone in bathrooms or bedrooms. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 is a United States federal law that establishes procedures for the physical and electronic surveillance and the collection of "foreign intelligence information" between "foreign powers" and "agents of foreign powers" suspected of espionage or terrorism.
Women overall, need to be more mindful of their surroundings when using public restrooms and dressing rooms. Since these are the most likely areas criminals seek to place hidden cameras. It is best practice to develop a routine to check your home for possible hidden cameras.
Is this a serious crime?
For a first offense, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than three years or both.
For second or subsequent offense, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than five hundred dollars or more than five thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.
A person commits the crime of aggravated voyeurism if he or she knowingly sells or distributes any photograph, audio recording, video recording, digital electronic file, or film of another person taken or made in violation of this section can be guilty of a felony.
Quick tips on how to protect yourself from peeping toms:
- If your home or apartment is new construction, double-check to make sure a hidden camera or voice recorder was placed there before you moved in.
- Make sure common things in your home like electrical outlets, ceiling fans, and smoke detectors are authentic. Some criminals have planted cameras in fake smoke detectors and outlets.
- Always check your vents with a Flashlight for possible foreign objects.
- Always keep your eyes on repair guys, cable crew, and maintenance crew. One woman found a camera in her bathroom after the repair man left her home.
- Check your internet for any unknown devices connected or to see if anyone is using your network.