Olympia mom recounts harrowing encounter with suspected voyeur during mother-daughter shopping trip

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A mother-daughter shopping day at Capitol Mall in Olympia was anything but fun for this mom and her 12-year-old.

She asked her identity not be revealed to protect the privacy of her daughter.

“We stopped in Forever 21. We decided to stop in and hang out together and try on clothes, it was her first time being in the store,” said the mother.

While mom and daughter were changing in the dressing room, an employee at Forever 21 knocked on their door.

“The employee said I need you to come out, so we came out, she pointed down and we could see on the floor the gentlemen next to me had a shoe with this phone propped up in it recording, faced in our mirror recording into our dressing room,” the mother told Q13 News.

Olympia police say that man was 31-year-old Efrain Ramirez-Ventura.

They arrested him on two counts of voyeurism, adding they found more than 80 videos on his phone recorded over the past two months.

According to probable cause documents Ramirez-Ventura told officers he “sometimes leaves the record on the phone and puts it on the ground just in case any hot ladies are there.”

Ramirez also stated, “I’m a guy, man, so this kind of stuff happens.”

For this mother, she says that was a shock to hear.

“Just so much adrenaline, I was furious,” said the mother.

She says there’s nothing they could have done differently, but as a sexual assault victim’s advocate, her work experience helped guide her daughter through what happened.

“This situation triggered me far more than it triggered her, and it’s important if this happens, that as parents we don’t project that on our children and overwhelm them,” said the mother.

She says her daughter was able to recognize the trauma she was feeling and said her legs were shaking and her heart racing when she realized she was a victim.

“I check in with her but I let her lead the conversation,” said the mother.

She says in today’s culture, this incident doubled as a different kind of bonding moment between mother and daughter, that sexual harassment can happen to anyone at any age.

“In silence, violence prevails. It happens all the time, every day, to a lot of people and it hits you off guard,” said the mother.