MISSOULA (AP) — A former Missoula County jail officer accused of secretly videotaping women in a changing room at a Missoula pool apparently can't be charged with that offense.
Michael Gauci was arrested Aug. 4 at Splash Montana, but he is not charged under the state's law against surreptitious visual recordation in a public establishment. That law is directed at owners, managers and employees of businesses or landlords who record people in a room where they would have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Another part of the law targets the crime at a place of residence.
In contrast, Idaho law defines the crime of video voyeurism as using, installing or permitting the use or installation of any imaging device at a place where a person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy.
Missoula County prosecutors opted to charge Gauci with burglary because they accuse him of entering Splash Montana to commit an offense. An additional charge of tampering with evidence alleges he tried to delete the video while pool patrons held him until police arrived.
The county attorney's office declined comment.
Sheriff Carl Ibsen fired Gauci on Aug. 7. Gauci, 37, was released on his own recognizance Thursday after an initial appearance in Justice Court.
Gauci told investigators that he went to the swimming pool with the intention of videotaping women and that it wasn't the first time he had done so, Deputy County Attorney Jason Marks wrote in an affidavit supporting the charges. A search of Gauci's camera found he had taken videos of three adult women in the changing rooms at the pool.
Gauci had worked at the Missoula County Detention Facility for about three years, Ibsen said.