"I felt sexually exploited"

Kitchener man to sue police for stealing and distributing naked photos

July 2, 2013 - A Kitchener resident has filed lawsuit against the Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) and 3 police officers after naked photographs of him were taken from his residence and electronically distributed to police officers. A Statement of Claims alleges $900,000 in damages.

Matthew Waltenberry, along with his lawyer, Davin Charney, will hold a press conference outside of the Division 1 police station in Kitchener this Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 10 a.m. Copies of the Statement of Claim will be made available to the media.

The claim alleges that WRPS officer Christopher Knox stole private photographs from inside the residence of Mr. Waltenberry. Knox had been called to the residence to check on the wellbeing of a tenant. Knox then used his police-issued Blackberry to electronically copy the photographs and send them to at least 6 other officers.

The claim further alleges that WRPS Constable Matthew VanderHeide saw Constable Knox steal the photographs but failed in his duty to report the incident. When the WRPS investigated the theft of the photos, another WRPS officer, Constable Vongkhamhou, attempted to destroy evidence by throwing stolen items, including the photographs, in the garbage.

Knox and Vongkhamhou have since pled guilty to criminal charges. Knox’s criminal convictions relate to a number of incidents, including Mr. Waltenberry’s case. In another case, Knox stole a sex toy from a residence and took photos of it in a supervisor’s marked police car.

Vongkhamhou along with 5 other officers face discipline under the Police Services Act. Knox has since resigned from the police force.

When asked about the incident Mr. Walternberry said, “I felt sexually exploited.” Mr. Waltenberry has still not gotten the photographs back. He has no idea where they are. He is concerned that they may end up on the internet.

“This case shows us that the blue wall of silence is in effect” said his lawyer Davin Charney. The blue wall of silence refers to the unspoken rule that police do not report crimes committed by other police. “One officer watched another officer steal, but he said nothing. Another officer tried to destroy evidence. Four other officers failed to report Knox’s crimes. How can the public trust the police to enforce the law?”

For more information and for copies of the Statement of Claim contact lawyer Davin Charney:
Phone: 1-226-747-2317; Email: davin@charneylaw.ca

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