Man in alleged peeping in court today

Published 9:30 am Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Home Solutions Midwest owner who faces charges of allegedly peeping into a women’s restroom with a remote video camera is expected to appear in Freeborn County District Court today for the first time on his charges.

Paul Duane Field, 62, faces a felony charge for harassment, a gross misdemeanor charge for harassment and a gross misdemeanor charge for invasion of privacy.

He is accused of placing a camera in a vent in the women’s restroom at Home Solutions that transmitted to a television in his office, according to court documents.

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The charges — which have been filed by the Mower County Attorney’s Office because of a conflict of interest between Field and an employee of the Freeborn County Attorney’s Office — came about after a woman employed at Home Solutions reported the camera to police.

During a search warrant March 12, Field reportedly told an Albert Lea police detective he knew about the camera and had placed it in the restroom a month earlier; however, he said he had not recorded anything with it, according to court documents.

When the charges were filed in April, Field’s lawyer, Allen Eskens of Mankato, said: “There is more to a case like this than what meets the eye. Mr. Field will be vigorously challenging the allegations, but the proper place for that challenge is in the court of law.”

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The felony harassment charge specifically is for stalking, following, monitoring or pursuing “another through technological or other means” and because of the victim’s “race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age or national origin,” according to the court report.

It carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The harassment gross misdemeanor charge is for following, monitoring or pursuing “another through technological or other means” alone.

The privacy gross misdemeanor charge is surreptitiously installing or using “any device for observing, photographing, broadcasting or recording events in a place where a reasonable person would have an expectation of privacy and has exposed, or is likely to expose, their intimate parts or the clothing covering the immediate area of their intimate parts.”

Gross misdemeanors have a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a $3,000 fine.

Look to this afternoon for the results of the hearing.