‘I get violated and he walks’
Victim disgusted that auctioneer who video recorded her undressing
Moments after auctioneer Shawn Roche was given a conditional discharge, the woman who he video recorded undressing in his house expressed her disgust.
“This is horrible!” the woman told The Telegram outside the courtroom at provincial court in St. John’s last Thursday following Roche’s sentencing.
“I get violated and he walks.”
The woman was so upset, she could be heard down the hallway in a loud voice telling Crown prosecutor Shawn Patten, “He knew exactly what he was doing!”
Sheriff’s officers stood by to prevent any trouble as Roche left the courtroom with his lawyer, Bob Simmonds.
After Patten took her aside to speak with her, she emerged calmer, but when approached for comment, she was still evidently upset.
“This has had a huge impact on me,” said the woman, surrounded by her family. “I just can’t believe he got a conditional discharge.”
The sentence — which includes six months’ probation — means Roche has been found guilty, but a conviction has not been entered and three years after his probation is completed he will have no criminal record.
Roche — the owner of Roche’s Auctioneering Services Ltd., a well-known auction business in the capital city — was originally charged with three counts of voyeurism. Two of those charges were for observing or making a recording of a person, without their knowledge, in a place where privacy is expected, and one for observing or recording a person, without their knowledge, while they are naked or exposing themselves.
Instead, he pleaded guilty to mischief. Patten agreed to withdraw the other count.
During his sentencing hearing earlier this month, Roche expressed his remorse and said it was never his intention to record the woman undressing.
The 46-year-old said that, at the time, July 2010, he was trying to gather information about his wife to support a divorce. He had suspicions his wife had been discussing their personal affairs with others.
Roche’s estranged wife discovered the video.
According to the agreed statement of facts, in August 2014, a few weeks after she and Roche separated and he moved out of their Logy Bay house, she was gathering some of his clothes and found an SD card in one of his coats.
When she viewed it on a computer at a later date, she saw a couple they knew, who had been staying in their guest bedroom.
The video shows Roche setting up the camera at noon and the couple entering the bedroom an hour later. At 7:21 p.m., Roche re-enters the room, readjusts the camera and then leaves.
Between that time and the morning, the woman is seen undressing and dressing, exposing herself. No audio was contained on the video.
In late October 2016, Roche’s estranged wife informed the woman of the video. Neither she nor the man knew they were being video recorded.
In her victim impact statement, the woman wrote, “My trust is gone, my integrity is questioned and I am a very broken woman, who had all the confidence in the world, left shattered.”
Patten had called it “an egregious violation of someone’s privacy” and suggested Roche be given a suspended sentence with a year’s probation.
Simmonds said a conditional discharge was more appropriate, noting, “A conviction would be fatal to his business,” since Roche travels frequently to the United States.
In making his decision, Judge Colin Flynn said since Roche never viewed the video and never shared it with anyone, there is “a lesser degree of blameworthiness than those that do not meet such criteria.”
“The lack of sexual motive along with nonviewing by the accused places this case in a different category than most others,” said Flynn, who also ordered Roche to pay a $1,000 victim surcharge, a much larger sum than the minimum $50, due to the effect his actions had on the woman.
“I must conclude that it was a lapse of judgment rather than an intent to capture video for a sexual purpose.”
But the woman on the video doesn’t buy that.
“He invited us to his house and was seen adjusting the camera twice!” she said. “Believe me, he knew exactly what he was doing.”
Auctioneer Shawn Roche was back in provincial court in St. John’s Thursday to be sentenced.