PEABODY, Mass — The owner of a Peabody chiropractic business is facing charges that he recorded nude visitors in his clinic after a hidden spy camera was found in a bathroom last week, according to the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office and Peabody police.
The owner of Back on Track, Scott Kline, was arraigned in Peabody District Court Tuesday on a charge of photographing an unsuspecting nude person, according to DA Marian Ryan.
A patient visiting Kline’s practice at 15 Chestnut Street, discovered a hidden camera in one of the restrooms around 12:45 p.m. on Friday, July 14, according to a police report by the Peabody police department.
The patient was urinating when he happened to notice a toilet brush hanging on a black coat hook attached to the wall next to the toilet tank. Feeling as if the items looked out of place, the patient investigated the hook further, according to the report. When he went to remove the hanger from the wall, he found it was attached to a Velcro strip and came off easily.
After observing a USB port, an SD memory card and a power switch on the back of the hanger, and a small camera on the front, the patient quickly determined the device was a spy camera, according to Peabody police.
The man provided Peabody police with photos and videos of the device, according to the report. An officer watching the video noticed that “two small blue lights are visible on the side of the device indicating that it was powered on.” The video also appears to show the velcro on the back of the device was “worn and dirty, as if it had been removed and reattached frequently,” according to the report.
According to Peabody police, the patient later attempted to retrieve the alleged camera by telling Kline he had forgotten his appointment card and then reentering the bathroom before he left the premises. However, when he went to retrieve the camera, he found it had been removed, according to the report.
Around 5:00 p.m. the same day, the victim’s father and a friend went to confront Kline, according to police. After meeting them outside the building, the victim’s father allegedly showed Kline the footage his son had taken. Kline reportedly didn’t deny the allegations, but begged the man “Please don’t do anything. I have a family,” and asked how they could resolve the situation. The father allegedly told Kline he had “until tomorrow to do the right thing,” before leaving to file the report with Peabody police.
Shortly after, Kline allegedly began texting a police officer, informing him there was a misunderstanding. Shortly after 8:00 p.m. Kline allegedly sent the following text message:
“What I wanted to mention to you was that was only being used as a hook and nothing more. It was non-functional no power to it and not being used maliciously at all other than a hook. I honestly didn’t even realize it was there. Please if you have any questions, let me know. I don’t want to start a big terrible fiasco for myself or family for no reason.”
Around 10:30 p.m., Kline allegedly sent another text, reading:
“What a day. Just wanted you to rest assured that if you look at your video you took. U will see that it was just used as a regular hook there was no power or ability to stream or save anything so not illegal. Im not sure your intentions? But if u are trying to get me to pay U? That will not happen bc I am not participating in anything bad. I apologize that it looked very bad but like I said you will be able to tell and hopefully that will clear my name w you. Hope I am not putting you through anything too. I’ve sacrificed a lot to build my practice and have helped a lot of ppl I hope this wont go past our conversation I am happy to have u go through my computers anytime if u like whatever makes u feel comfortable.”
After investigators gained a search warrant around the same time, police contacted Kline, asking the chiropractor to let some officers search the building while others interviewed him.
During his interview with police, Kline reportedly admitted to placing the hook in the bathroom but stated he originally purchased it to use as a “nanny cam” to watch his coin collection and that it was not recording at the time it was placed in the bathroom.
Police say Kline informed them that he had destroyed the camera in question by stomping on it and flushing it down the toilet. Kline allegedly told police that he had purchased three cameras, throwing two away and using the third to hang the toilet brush in the bathroom.
However, using K9s during their search of Back on Track, officers reported finding a hook matching the one depicted in the patient’s video, along with flash drives and hard drives, some containing an “extensive pornography collection,” according to police.
After returning from the search, officers reaffirmed Kline’s statement that he had destroyed the camera and had only purchased three cameras. After being shown the camera officers recovered from the practice, Kline then reportedly told police he must have actually bought four of the items.
Kline told police he kept it for “nostalgia” reasons. After an officer again asked him whether the recovered camera was the one originally discovered, Kline was reportedly non-committal, telling police he wasn’t sure and “maybe.”
Kline also declined to provide police the passcode for an encrypted USB drive officers had recovered at his business, police say. Kline reportedly said that there was nothing on the storage device before telling officers that work-related info may be on it when investigators questioned why it had a passcode.
Kline also denied removing the camera after the visit in which the patient allegedly discovered it.
After his Tuesday arraignment, Kline’s bail was set at $10,000 dollars and he was ordered to stay away from and have no contact with the reporting party, according to the DA’s office.
The police report also states investigators who search the practice found hundreds of homemade images and videos of “many women in different stages of undress and involved in sexual activity.” Police also reported finding a list of 117 women alongside their names, ages, number of sexual encounters, location of the sexual encounters and comments about their performance in the encounters.
Some of the photos show Kline engaging in sexual encounters at the practice, including on exam tables, according to police. Officers determined the photos and videos on the hard drives were determined to be consensual and did not take them from the establishment.
Kline’s attorney, Paul Moraski, told Boston 25 News Wednesday night he believes the evidence tells a different story.
“They executed a search warrant, they took 4 hard drives, a bunch of computers, iPhones, iPads and he was totally cooperative and all of that evidence shows there were no recordings or photographs found on any of those devices,” said Moraski.
When asked why the camera was in the bathroom if it wasn’t recording, Moraski said his client’s story is the truth, however strange it may sound.
“Because it was literally being used as a hook and was functioning as literally just holding something up in the bathroom,” said Moraski. “and I get that it’s hard to believe why would it be there if it wasn’t for this secret purpose and I get fact is sometimes stranger than fiction.”
Kline will appear in court on August 29 for a pretrial conference, according to the Middlesex County DA’s Office.
The investigation is being handled by the Middlesex DA’s office due to a potential conflict of interest with the Essex County DA’s Office.
Patients of Back on Track or any other people that believe that may be victims in this case are asked to contact Peabody police at 978-538-6300 / 978-531-1212.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.
Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.
©2023 Cox Media Group