The owner of a gym in Minnesota used a hidden camera to spy on a woman as she disrobed in a tanning booth, a new lawsuit claims.
The civil suit, filed last week in Wright County District Court, alleges that Snap Fitness franchisee Randall D. Roiger installed a surveillance camera in a tanning booth at the fitness center in Annandale, where he spied on the female customer “repeatedly” without her knowledge, the Star Tribune reported Monday.
The 42-year-old woman allegedly spotted the secret camera during a visit to the gym in January 2019 and then got in touch with cops. Roiger — who identified himself online as a former Marine — was later charged with misdemeanor interference with privacy, the newspaper reported.
Roiger watched the woman to “make sure individuals had purchased tanning booth minutes” and then allegedly stopped looking on once that was confirmed or “when people started undressing,” a criminal complaint obtained by the newspaper states.
Roiger has agreed that using the camera was an invasion of privacy, according to the complaint, but he has pleaded not guilty ahead of his trial set for March, the Star Tribune reported.
Roiger, 45, of Cokato, told the newspaper Monday that the device “has been down for over a year” before declining to elaborate. The personal injury lawsuit also named the Minnesota-based Snap Fitness – which has 2,000 clubs in 48 states and 26 countries – as a defendant, according to the report.
Attorneys for Roiger, meanwhile, have denied that he watched the woman as she used the tanning booth, insisting he installed the camera in a corner of the booth’s ceiling behind a pinhole to prevent theft and “unauthorized use” of the unit.
An attorney for the woman acknowledged that she did not “personally see” Roiger looking at her while naked, but suggested that “2 plus equals 4,” the newspaper reported.
“By the time she saw [the camera], it had apparently been there for weeks,” attorney Lori Peterson told the Star Tribune. “The camera was clearly put here to view people as they undressed.”
Peterson said she was “completely disgusted” by the gym’s response.
“To not only deny responsibility but to actively endorse spying on unclothed members and victim-blaming a woman who was spied on in the tanning booth is reprehensible,” Peterson said.
Defense attorneys claim customers were warned that video surveillance was utilized through the gym, including a sign near the entrance of the tanning booth. But Peterson insists the placards never warned customers of being watched inside the booths, according to the report.
The woman’s suit, which seeks at least $50,000 in damages, claims she still suffers emotionally and physically from the incident, including paranoia and having a fear of public bathrooms.
The woman is identified in the lawsuit, but the Star Tribune declined to reveal her name since she’s a potential victim of a sexually related crime, according to the report.
A LinkedIn profile for Roiger, meanwhile, identified him as the owner of Snap Fitness in Annandale who served in the Marine Corps for more than four years, including three combat tours to Iraq.
“While in the Marine Corps, I was promoted 3 times, being honorably discharged with the rank of sergeant,” the profile reads. “Through my experiences, I’ve learned to be a strong leader with many technical skills. I feel my greatest strength is my ability to get along with a variety of people and personalities.”