In October 2012, a tenant in the basement became concerned about the smoke alarm above her bed.
“Whenever the power would go out, all the smoke detectors on her level would beep, but the one above her bed did not,” according to Montgomery police documents.
The tenant said she and her boyfriend then examined the smoke detector and found video-recording equipment and wires leading back into the ceiling. In the early morning of Oct. 13, she called police, and two officers went to her apartment and took photographs of the device, according to police reports.
Police later confiscated Van Dusen’s laptop computer and two hard drives from his room in the house, according to a detective’s affidavit filed in court. An examination of the equipment found “sexually/nude videos” of the three tenants and their boyfriends, according to the affidavit. The videos also revealed that Van Dusen had put “hidden surveillance devices in each of the renters’ rooms,” the affidavit states.
Police charged Van Dusen with seven counts of visual surveillance without consent, seven counts of using a camera without consent for “prurient intent” and one count of placement of a surreptitious surveillance device, according to court records. Records do not indicate that any of the alleged video images were posted on the Internet.
In an interview Friday, one of the tenants who is suing said that, at first, she couldn’t believe the allegations because nothing seemed out of the ordinary about Van Dusen. Then the police called her to a station and showed her videos that she said were clearly recorded in her upstairs room.
“I was completely shocked,” said the woman, 27, who works at a law firm in Virginia and asked not to be named. “I couldn’t sleep for days. I could barely eat.”
The tenant said she thinks there were at least two hidden cameras in her room — one in the ceiling, possibly in a smoke detector, and one in a wall. The images appeared to go back at least a year, she said. She wondered whether Van Dusen had been nice to her because he felt guilty. “Now I’m thinking that he was too nice,” she said.
The lawsuits allege that on Oct. 14, the day after police officers went to the house, Van Dusen sent text messages to two tenants. “I am willing to discuss settlement before you make a claim but not afterward,” the text messages allegedly said. “Best to communicate by email or txt.”
Jennifer Jenkins contributed to this report.