A Boston man was arrested after allegedly surreptitiously filming boys in restrooms at the Boston Latin School, according to United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling.
Court documents say two separate Boston College students reported to police on February 6 and 26, 2018, that they had been videotaped without their knowledge or consent while they were using the men's restrooms on the college's campus.
Police spoke with 36-year-old Eric Tran Thai on February 27, who was then arrested on state charges in Middlesex County Superior Court.
Thai allegedly admitted to "taking some pictures" of a man in the stall next to him without his consent, and further admitted to doing the same type of activity for about a year.
"We are very pleased with the arrest of Eric Thai to answer for these extensive federal charges," a statement from BC read. "We applaud the good work of Boston College Police who first arrested him for taking photos of two BC students in a public men's room, as well as Boston Police, the US Attorney's Office, the FBI, and the Middlesex County District Attorney's Office. We have every confidence that justice will be served in this disturbing case."
Thai was arrested and his bag was searched, and police allegedly found several covert camera devices, including faux smoke detectors, a water bottle containing a small crude recording device, and a pair of sunglasses with a built-in camera.
Authorities searched Thai's home on March 1, and allegedly found 26 computer hard drives, 20 thumb drives, 27 covert and regular cameras, 14 computers, iPads, and cellphones, and multiple SD and SIM cards.
Investigators also found several folders labeled: BU, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Bunker Hill, Boston Latin High School, and several different malls, airports, and foreign country locations.
Boston Public Schools said the suspect entered Boston Latin High School outside of regular school hours and they're "reviewing our safety protocols to understand how this happened and how to prevent it from happening again."
The suspect, a 2000 Boston Latin School graduate, was also issued a "no trespass order" by the school and police, and the school said they're increasing adult presence at the school's main entrance after school hours, and also installing additional security cameras.
Thai allegedly had videos labeled "Boston Latin High School" with approximately 45 recorded videos of male students in "various states of dress," using urinals and stalls at the Boston Latin High School boys' bathroom.
"Headmaster Skerritt and I are horrified by the allegations that were brought to our attention by law enforcement," Interim Boston Public Schools Superintendent Laura Perille said. "Safety is always our top priority, and we strive every day to make sure our students are learning and thriving in safe, welcoming, and supportive schools."
Authorities said the videos look like they were created on 10 separate dates between February and December of 2017.
"These alleged acts represent a major violation to the student victims, along with the entire Boston Latin School community," Perille's statement read. "Our primary concern is to provide any and all support to the victims of this disturbing situation."
"In general, the videos show Thai sitting in a bathroom stall at Boston Latin High School recording individuals in adjacent stalls or at the urinals through various secret recording methods," the U.S. Attorney's Office wrote. "In some videos, Thai appears to hold a camera over the top of the partition between the bathroom stalls and videotaping from overhead. In other instances, he appears to hide a small camera inside of his backpack, place the backpack on the bathroom floor and videotape individuals in the adjacent bathroom stall from under the stall’s partition."
Boston Latin High School senior Josh Caban was upset to hear fellow students were videotaped secretly inside the supposedly-secure school.
"We’ve been compromised and we need to take better precautions going forward," Caban said.
Others were left wondering how he got in.
“He might have been able to sneak in whenever he wanted to after school hours when it was easy to get in," junior Jon Nguyen said. "The fact that even the safest of spots can have such a dangerous man in it is just a really scary thought.”
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