On Friday, the Troy Police Department arrested former RPI Heating and Cooling Supervisor Thomas McMartin for unlawful surveillance and burglary. McMartin pleaded not guilty to the felony charges.
According to the bulletin posted by Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations William Walker, “A motion-sensitive video camera was discovered in the locker room of an athletic facility on the Rensselaer Troy campus.” Thursday evening, a student using the locker room at the Robinson Pool saw something strange on the ceiling and alerted her coach, who subsequently notified Public Safety and Troy Police. The suspicious object was a hunting camera designed to take still photographs of deer. The camera contained pictures of three to four adult victims in various stages of undress, in addition to one of McMartin himself installing it. “We have reached out to the students who were identified as having appeared in video captured by the camera, and their families,” Walker continued in his statement.
“The Institute is outraged over this and sorry for any hurt that this may have caused anyone,” said Vice President for Student Life Tim Sams. “We take it very seriously; we take the care of our students very seriously, and we are actively taking care to make sure that our swim team is safe and that this never happens again.”
As a precaution, over the next four days, RPI checked every single bathroom and locker room on campus to ensure that no additional cameras exist. Several Student Life professionals met with the swim team on Thursday to address questions and offer support. “We expressed our outrage over the incident and commitment to supporting the students,” said Sams. “We want to establish an ongoing relationship; this wasn’t a one-off. If there is need for a subsequent conversation, I am very open to that, in whatever way is sensible.”
McMartin was promptly fired, banned from campus, and blocked from building and electronic forms of access, according to Walker, who called his actions “unacceptable and repugnant.”
The camera was only in place for one day, and was not equipped with transmission capabilities of any sort. The police believe McMartin never collected the photos, nor were they uploaded to the internet.
“Troy PD is in charge of the full investigation,” explained Sams. “We want to do everything we can to support their conducting a thorough, effective investigation.” McMartin was arrested under felony charges—unlawful surveillance and burglary, since for his job, he had no reason to be in the women’s locker room. After pleading not guilty, he paid bail of $5,000 to await trial by grand jury.
Sams emphasized that students who wish to talk to a professional or counselor about the incident should contact Student Life. On Thursday, he will hold open office hours to address any student concerns on the matter and to answer questions.