Local Masseur Charged With Voyeurism

The+masseuse%27s+business+downtown.+
The masseuse's business downtown.

The masseuse's business downtown.

NY DAILY NEWS

NY DAILY NEWS

The masseuse's business downtown.

By ALLY MURPHY

A local masseur was charged with four counts of voyeurism after he allegedly videotaped four female customers undressing at his business. 

The masseur, Roger Schmidt, 53, owner of Roger’s Relaxing Massage Therapy on Court Street in Middlebury, pleaded not guilty in Addison Superior Court on April 16. The investigation began after a customer, who felt they were being videotaped, filed a complaint. Police then searched the business and Schmidt’s home, where they found hidden cameras and digital evidence, including 70 videos and photos.

Police believe the recording occurred without the knowledge or consent of the customers, four of which have been identified thus far. The investigation is ongoing as police attempt to identify more victims.

Students received an email on April 19 from Baishakhi Taylor, the dean of students, announcing the filing of criminal charges against Schmidt.

Taylor described the allegations as “deeply disturbing,” and mentioned that Middlebury employees and their families, in addition to other members of the community, were clients of the business.

A student from Middlebury, who has been identified in the videos and wishes to remain anonymous, commented on the charges.

“I am angry about what he did, but it only makes me angrier that he is not in jail,” the student said. “I’m not a legal expert, but from my research, the maximum sentence for doing what he did to me is either a $1,000 fine or two years in jail. Maximum. There is a good chance I will run into him in town while grocery shopping or getting gas, and I don’t understand why the law doesn’t protect me and the other women from this possibility. He will get to continue to live the rest of his life relatively normally despite having sexually violated dozens of women.”

The student said that the punishment Schmidt would receive if found guilty seemed insufficient.

“White men in particular see how weak the consequences are for them in cases like Brock Turner’s, and while I hate to advocate for supporting this country’s prison system, I do think that more severe sentences for sexual abuse might prevent men like Roger from doing what they did,” the student said. “And at least for me, it would help to feel like at least justice has been served; $1,000 and two years somehow does not feel like justice to me.”

Taylor advised any students who had gone to Schmidt for services to contact the police.

“The Middlebury Police Department is continuing its investigation and we encourage anyone who received a massage or other services from Roger Schmidt in 2017 or 2018 to contact Detective Kris Bowdish at 388-3191 or by email at kbowdish@middleburypolice.org,” the email read.

Taylor also identified potential resources on campus for victims of Schmidt’s business.

“Confidential counseling and referral services are available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week through our counseling center X 5141,” she wrote. “In addition, your Commons Deans, CRDs, and, I are available to you as a resource.”

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Local Masseur Charged With Voyeurism