When the Ream family checked into their hotel in Denver, Colorado this summer, they never dreamed their family vacation would become someone else’s hidden camera peepshow. But that is exactly what prosecutors say happened when their next door neighbor at the TownePlace Suites hid a wireless camera in the wall between their rooms.
Hotel management was tipped off to the crime when a hotel worker discovered a hole in the wall of the Ream’s room after they checked out. After breaking open the wall, they discovered a camera. It didn’t take long to realize that David Fugate, who had been staying in the room next door, was the guilty party.
He was initially charged with a felony, but the charge was reduced because under the Colorado’s Peeping Tom law, prosecutors must prove he committed the crime for sexual gratification. Because no recorded evidence was found, they couldn’t prove anything other than what he confessed to — putting the camera in the wall. That is only a misdemeanor in Colorado and Fugate was sentenced to just two years probation.
So, what could be worse than having your family secretly watched while in the privacy of a hotel room? How about not being told about the crime until a full two months after your vacation was over? Robert Ream says he didn’t even know his family had been violated until he received a letter from the Arapahoe County District Attorney’s Office informing him that Fugate had been prosecuted for the crime.
A spokesperson for the DA’s office says they did try to contact Ream but when he didn’t return a message left for him, they decided to proceed without him. Ream is understandably unhappy about what happened, how it was handled and the fact that Fugate wasn’t charged with a more serious crime. He says he is concerned about photos of his daughters someday surfacing on the Internet and intends to work to help strengthen Colorado’s laws so this doesn’t happen to another family.