Thursday, April 19, 2018
Public safety

Cops: Tampa executive filmed women using toilets and showering at his company (w/video)

TAMPA — Over the past several years, a man secretly recorded more than 200 instances of women using toilets and showering at his company, Tampa police said Friday.

Authorities arrested James Stanton, 39, of Trinity, who they said is the chief financial officer of MaintenX at 2202 N Howard Ave.

Police executed a search warrant there Friday after being tipped off by an information technology employee, who left the company several months ago. One of the videos shows a man — Stanton, police say — enter a bathroom and move the camera.

"What Mr. Stanton did was an absolute, complete invasion of these people's privacy. It's downright shameful," police Maj. Brian Dugan said.

Stanton has been fired, according to a MaintenX vice president, who added that the company is cooperating with police.

"The behavior is reprehensible and is not acceptable (to) our company," Bill Schaphorst wrote Friday.

The recording began in 2010, police said, but it is unclear when it stopped. Authorities said they were so far unsure whether the images were distributed online. Both police and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement will be investigating further.

Though detectives say they found more than 200 videos, they have only been able to identify the people in 123 of them. That's why on Friday authorities charged Stanton with 123 counts of video voyeurism, a third-degree felony.

Police talked to three of the victims Friday and were searching for two others. Dugan said the women were shocked and upset. It was awkward for both the detectives and the women, he said.

"We had to ask, 'Is this you going to the bathroom? Is this you using the shower?' " the major said.

MaintenX provides maintenance for companies, such as electrical, plumbing, heating and air conditioning. Its corporate headquarters is in an old cigar factory in West Tampa, just north of Interstate 275.

Police say the IT worker first reported the videos to MaintenX management. When he didn't see action, he went to Tampa police with information and the videos.

Schaphorst said that isn't true and that MaintenX would have immediately halted the recording and called police if its managers knew.

"No one on our executive team had any knowledge of this activity," he said.

Records show that Stanton is part of the top team. In state records, he is listed as the company's registered agent and one of its vice presidents. He has been the company's CFO for more than 12 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Stanton was booked into the Orient Road Jail and was being held Friday afternoon in lieu of $615,000 bail. This is his first arrest in Florida, state records show.

Times news researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report. Jessica Vander Velde can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3433.

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