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Iowa settles with 8 men, victims of bathroom photo scandal
DES MOINES — The state of Iowa agreed Monday to pay eight men working for the state's Department of Revenue just over $1 million to settle complaints that they were secretly photographed by a male colleague in a restroom over an 18-year period and that supervisors didn't take the matter seriously.
The State Appeal Board voted to settle with the men, who will each receive payments ranging from $70,000 to $200,000, some of which will go to their attorneys. The total state payout comes to $1.01 million.
The state previously settled with three other men who had filed a federal lawsuit for $900,000.
In the initial lawsuit the men alleged that Kenneth Kerr followed them into workplace restrooms and surreptitiously took photos and videos of their genitals between March 1997 and July 2015. Kerr was investigated and fired in 2015 after one of the men caught him secretly recording him on video with a cellphone underneath a restroom stall partition.
Kerr was charged and pleaded guilty in 2016 to invasion of privacy and sexually motivated stalking. He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender. He admitted in depositions that he had a deep addiction to pornography at the time.
While going through his work computer, investigators found a 250-page journal in which Kerr had made observations about at least a dozen other men and a spreadsheet in which he ranked the genitals of 60 men, including several state employees, according to court documents.
Iowa Solicitor General Jeff Thompson said the state notified other identifiable victims and allowed them to see the evidence gathered in preparation for Kerr's trial to determine if they wanted to seek compensation.
“We had information that we felt obligated us to review and we ultimately gave current and former employees notice that it looked like there was a question about whether their rights were violated by a former state employee,” Thompson said.
He said supervisors involved no longer work for the agency.