Thursday, November 11, 2010
Carmel on the Case: Video Voyeurism
A South Florida IRS agent is being sued over claims he put a hidden camera in a woman's room to spy on her. And now, he is suing her over those very same claims. Investigative reporter Carmel Cafiero has more on this case of video voyeurism?
WSVN -- Sixty-year-old Ken Ryals is an IRS agent who investigates offshore accounts looking for hidden money, but a hidden camera is at the heart of a lawsuit against him.
Detective: "You have the right to remain silent."
Seven News has obtained a video taped interrogation of Ryals by Davie Police. He was being questioned about the camera found in the bedroom he rented to college student Miranda Goldston.
Ken Ryals: "It didn't work when I tried it."
When first questioned by Davie Police, he told them the camera didn't work.
Detective: "Nothing worked?"
Ken Ryals: "It didn't work."
But when police set up the device the picture was clear.
Detective: "Looks like it works to me, doesn't it?"
Ken Ryals: "Oh yeah, but on my receivers, I couldn't get it to work."
Later, in a series of statements Ryals admitted the camera did work and he did watch, but did not tape Miranda.
Ken Ryals: "There's no taping or anything."
Detective: "Just watching?"
Ken Ryals: "Watching every now and then."
Detective: "So, this was more for your viewing pleasure?"
Ken Ryals: "It was for my viewing pleasure."
Detective: "How long would you say you've been doing things like that?"
Ken Ryals: "A couple of years."
Detective: "A couple of years?"
Ken Ryals: "Yeah."
As a result, Ryals was charged with video voyeurism, a misdemeanor, but the criminal charge was dropped when a judge ruled the police interrogation could not be used. It was the backbone of the criminal case and could now play a key role in the invasion of privacy lawsuit filed by the young woman.
Attorney Walter Mathews represents Miranda.
Walter Mathews, Attorney: "She became nervous that there was a little hole in the front of a DVD player."
According to the lawsuit, that DVD player was part of the furnishings Ryals provided.
Walter Mathews: "And when she took off the cover, she noticed that there was a mini camera installed in the faceplate of this DVD player."
Mathews says the camera was aimed at Miranda's bed.
Ken Ryals: "I don't know of an invasion of privacy lawsuit."
Carmel Cafiero: "You don't know anything about it?"
Ken Ryals: "No."
Carmel Cafiero: "You don't know one of your tenants is suing you?"
Ken Ryals: "Ah yeah, and I filed a countersuit against her."
And this is that lawsuit. Ryals acting as his own attorney is suing Miranda Goldston for libel, slander and defamation of character based on the young woman's accusations that he spied on her.
His lawsuit also claims the civil case against him is malicious prosecution designed to "harass and tarnish" his character.
Ken Ryals: "What happens to me down the road?"
Ryals is now asking the court to keep his video taped statements to police out of the lawsuit, but Mathews wants the statements to be allowed. He says Miranda is still traumatized over finding the camera.
Walter Mathews: "She couldn't move. She was literally frozen and she had to call a friend and her the friend talk her through getting out of the place."
Ryals had little to say about her lawsuit.
Carmel Cafiero: "So, what is your response to the allegations in that lawsuit?"
Ken Ryals: "Who's lawsuit, mine or hers?"
Carmel Cafiero: "Hers, her lawsuit against you?"
Ken Ryals: "Ah denying everything."
Miranda has since moved out of state, but she'll be back when the time comes for the courts to decide who is the real victim here.
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