SEATTLE — A sex offender was charged with voyeurism Friday for allegedly taking photos under the stall of a women’s restroom in a Federal Way restaurant.
Jason Halter was charged with one count of voyeurism and was being held in the King County Jail in lieu of $100,000 bail.
Police say last week he was caught in the women’s restroom of the Old Country Buffet restaurant trying to take pictures underneath the stall.
“There was a young victim in this case — a girl who was only 6 years old was inside the bathroom,” says Cathy Schrock, the public information officer for the Federal Way Police Department. “I can’t confirm right now what pictures they got.”
Halter was with a woman at the time. According to the police report, he handed her the phone when he was caught by employees.
“The restaurant employees recognized these two individuals, said they’d been there quite a long time that day, and were regulars,” says Schrock. “So this is probably not the first time.”
Customers say they can’t believe something like this could happen, in a place where you expect to have privacy.
“I would be afraid going into a restroom by myself, knowing that in the restaurant that happened,” says Renee Chroninger. “That’s just not acceptable.”
She says it’s especially frightening to know that a child may have been caught on camera.
“My child is about 12,” says Chroninger. “If she went in there and something happened to her, I’d never forgive myself.”
Police say the two suspects were caught, because the people in the restaurant at the time did the right thing.
“There were really aware employees,” says Schrock. “People were also being aware of their surroundings, and not being afraid to say when something isn’t right.”
Halter, 23, previously has been convicted of indecent exposure and possessing child pornography.
The woman he was with in the latest incident was not charged Friday, but police said an investigation is ongoing.