ARNOLD, Mo. – When a 20-year-old spotted someone taking video of her naked, she got quick action from the gym. Staff found the suspect and police arrested him. But she claims staff wouldn’t share the suspect’s name to protect his safety.
“Apparently he’s a regular there and I’ve been told I’ve seen him around the gym or might know him but I still don’t know what his name is or what his face looks like,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
Fox 2 spoke with the woman one week after she said someone recorded her nude.
She said it happened while she was in a tanning stall at the Arnold Club Fitness. She described how the man’s arm was under the door, inside her private room.
“At that moment I was so startled I was just saying, ‘Get this out of here! Get this person out of here!’ and so I just kicked away,” she said.
The woman said the phone flew out into the hallway and the suspect ran. She said staff found out who did it while reviewing surveillance video but wouldn't give her the man’s name.
She said they told her it was, “…for his safety. But also, he knows my car. There’s video of him coming in right after me. Like, following me from the parking lot. He obviously knows what I look like, knows what I drive, knows I’m there. So they’re protecting his safety but I feel my safety is being compromised.”
Club Fitness would not respond when Fox 2 asked for a comment in person. We wanted to know if it’s policy to protect the identity of someone accused of a crime.
Later, a corporate spokesperson wrote back: “We gave all the information to the police that was requested by them. There was no information asked of us by anyone but the police.”
Fox 2 confirmed police got the information and arrested the suspect that first day. They found he was a firefighter for the Cedar Hill Fire Protection District named Kyle Polete. Cedar Hill suspended Polete immediately after a visit from investigators and the Arnold Police Department referred the case to the Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
It was only after those developments—eight days later—that the victim said she finally learned the name of the suspect.
“They did catch him and he did admit all of it,” she said. “He admitted taking photos and videos of me. He also claims that he deleted them.”
Did police make sure?
“So the police checked his phone and they called me and said we are pretty sure they have not been disbursed,” she said.
Polete did not respond to our attempts to contact him. The Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has since charged Polete with first-degree felony harassment.
Club Fitness added that it's not only been cooperative with authorities but also made changes so it won't happen again by extending the tops and bottoms of their tanning walls so there's no space for someone to slide in a phone.
The Cedar Hill Fire Protection District released the following statement on November 4:
The Cedar Hill Fire Protection District (“District”) was surprised and dismayed to learn of the allegations of improper and egregious conduct recently made against one of its first responders. The individual involved was immediately suspended from service when the allegations came to light, and he resigned his employment with the District during the pendency of the District’s investigation.
A thorough background check performed prior to the hiring of this individual did not reveal any concerns or past incidents of a similar nature.
The District understands the importance of maintaining the public’s confidence in the character and integrity of its first responders, and is thoroughly committed to that end. The conduct of this individual is not in keeping with the high moral and ethical standards to which the District holds its first respondents accountable.