Restaurant manager records female employees changing clothes for a year, TX cops say

A 16-year-old girl was undressing in the changing room at the Texas restaurant where she worked when she noticed a tiny device plugged into the wall, media outlets report.

The girl told police the “white, cube-shaped object” first looked to be a cellphone charging block when she unplugged it from the wall at the Canyon Grille at Rough Hollow restaurant in Lakeway, Texas on Aug. 10, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

When she looked closer, the teen realized it was something else, according to the newspaper.

The device had a “pinhole” and a flashing light — and when the girl removed the faceplate she found a camera lens and memory card, she told police, the newspaper reported.

Police say the girl uncovered a secret camera the restaurant’s general manager used to record female employees for a year, according to KXAN. A video recording shows the manager adjusting the camera just five minutes before the teen used the room to undress, police said, according to the Austin TV station.

Jean-Christophe Barret was charged with invasive visual recording, according to a news release posted on Facebook. Lakeway police have identified four victims in the case, and they’re trying to identify a fifth, police said.

But the Barret told detectives he viewed anywhere from 15 to 100 women, including some who were fully nude, according to KXAN.

Women who worked at the restaurant told detectives that Barret encouraged them to use the room to change clothes before or after their shifts, according to KEYE.

The restaurant apologized and said it fired Barret in a statement to KEYE.

“We would like to express our deepest apologies to our staff and our loyal customers,” the restaurant told KEYE. “We are taking this matter very seriously, and our focus is on the safety of, and respect for, our employees and our community. We took immediate action as soon as this issue was brought to our attention and fired Mr. Barrett.”

Barret was released from Travis County jail on $40,000 bond, according to KEYE.

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Chacour Koop is a Real-Time reporter based in Kansas City. Previously, he reported for the Associated Press, Galveston County Daily News and Daily Herald in Chicago.