Business owner files suit over hidden cameras
Carmel - The owner of a tanning company is suing a Carmel plastic surgery practice over secret surveillance.
The lawsuit accuses the surgery center of pointing hidden cameras at naked women. Pam Sanders says she and dozens of women were violated by prying eyes.
"There was a hidden camera that was in the room that I had been spray-tanning my clients in, partially nude, nude, as well as myself nude," Sanders said. "I don't want this to ever happen to anyone else again."
Sanders filed a civil lawsuit Friday against Van Natta Plastic Surgery and Meridian Plastic Surgery Center in Carmel. A former client of the practice, she ran her spray tan business in a makeup room at the center, where women also typically changed clothes.
The suit claims concealed pinhole cameras were hidden in a sprinkler on the ceiling.
"I believe there's a presumption that the camera was there, was on, and it showed whatever it showed," said Sanders' attorney Robert York.
"I never ever would have put my clients, myself, my friends in a room where they were, you know, it's very personal," Sanders said.
The lawsuit was filed class action because Sanders says she spray-tanned at least 40 people, all of whom were unaware that a camera was allegedly watching their every move.
"I don't know if it's going to pop up on the internet or pop up here or there," Sanders said.
The lawsuit alleges the secret surveillance was connected to an IP address and a laptop computer, belonging to a member of the plastic surgery practice.
Sanders says she found out about the cameras in May from an employee. She filed a police report and says she confronted the doctors.
"They admitted there was a camera in there. They told me it was originally in there to deter theft," Sanders said. "He did tell me that he had disconnected the camera awhile back."
But Myra Borshoff Cook, a spokesperson for the practice, says the cameras were on. She says the surgery center mounted two cameras - one in a break room, the other in the makeup room - because of a problem with theft.
"They were installed for security purposes," Borshoff Cook said.
When asked if clients were made aware that there was a camera in the room, Borshoff Cook said, "I don't know."
"We have no reason to believe that any of the taping that might have inadvertently been done in the room where they were doing the tanning was viewed by anyone," she added.
But the mere presence of a camera doesn't sit well with Pam Sanders.
"I was beside myself. To have found this out is beyond gutwrenching," she said.
The surgery center says it hired a forensics company to analyze the tapes to determine if they were viewed by anyone. As for a criminal investigation, Hamilton County police say the case is open, but not active