CLEAR LAKE | Police say a former Clear Creek Elementary custodian allegedly videotaped four female co-workers in a faculty bathroom while working at the school.
David Joe Bemis, 46, of Mason City, was charged with four counts of misdemeanor invasion of privacy and booked into the Cerro Gordo County Jail Monday evening.
He has since been released on bond and is scheduled to appear in Cerro Gordo County District Court Feb. 26. Four no-contact orders have been issued.
Bemis is accused of placing a hidden USB video camera in a unisex staff bathroom at Clear Creek Elementary School, 901 S. 14th St., between May 1 and May 31, 2013, according to police, court documents and school officials.
The camera was used to capture video and audio of four adult women "in a state of partial nudity with the intent of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of the defendant," court documents said.
Charging documents prepared by the Clear Lake Police Department said the "victim(s) had no knowledge of the camera, or the existence of any recording, and had not consented to be recorded."
The footage showed four school employees who have been notified, police said, but they and school officials said there was no evidence any children had been recorded.
Clear Lake Police Chief Pete Roth said the investigation, which was prompted by "a party outside of the school district" who contacted school officials, turned up four videos.
He did not specify how the videos were discovered, but said via email Tuesday investigators do not believe there are any more recordings.
Bemis is the only person believed to allegedly be involved, according to Roth. The recordings were located on a USB storage device and laptop owned by Bemis, court documents said. Investigators recovered the items at his home in the 1200 block of South Carolina Avenue.
Bemis worked in Clear Lake schools for 19 years, Clear Lake Superintendent Doug Gee said via email Tuesday. The School Board approved his resignation in January.
“We became aware of the information from a party outside the school and we placed him (Bemis) on administrative leave immediately while we investigated,” Gee said. “We got the Clear Lake police involved and they had a search warrant available the next day and confiscated all the video and computer equipment.”
Gee said that the school district and police are confident that there were no students filmed, that the video was not released publicly and that police have confiscated all the video that was recorded.
“We are also confident that this was four to five years ago and it was an isolated incident that happened a couple times, because of the police investigation and through forensic examination of all the video and computer equipment,” Gee said. “The Clear Lake police department did a great job of expediting the investigation.”
Gee, who was hired in 2016, was not superintendent when the incident allegedly occurred.