CHICAGO (CBS) — A teacher at Sunset Ridge School in Northfield filed a lawsuit Tuesday against David Garcia-Espinal – the man accused of hiding cameras in bathrooms at the school – and the two contractors that employed him.
Garcia-Espinal has been wanted on a warrant since mid-January on charges that he secretly recorded both staff and students in bathrooms at the school.
The teacher, who was not identified in the suit and was referred to as Jane Doe, claimed in the lawsuit that she was filmed using the restroom.
The teacher has been traumatized and will require therapy and psychological treatment as a result, the lawsuit said.
Garcia-Espinal had been at Sunset Ridge since 2015, holding two jobs at the school since 2016 through two different companies. He was a cook through OrganicLife, and a custodian through Smith Maintenance Company in the evenings.
The lawsuit also noted that Garcia-Espinal has a criminal background and a long pattern of inappropriate behavior, and accused the two contractors of failing to conduct adequate background checks before hiring him.
CBS 2 has learned over the past several weeks that Garcia-Espinal was caught taking pictures of women while they urinated in a movie theater restroom in 2010. He was caught a second time three months later and was banned from the Northbrook Court mall, but was never charged with a crime in that case.
Court records showed Garcia-Espinal pleaded guilty to identity fraud in Glenview in 2012 and was sentenced to probation, and was also fined for violating his probation in 2013. When he was arrested for the movie theater incident, the officer found three different Social Security cards, three different permanent resident cards and two different resident alien cards.
Glenview Police tell CBS 2 that their records show they charged Garcia-Espinal with a misdemeanor for public indecency. However, that charge was never recommended for prosecution. Prosecutors pursued only the fraud charge to which Garcia-Espinal pleaded guilty.
But since he was never charged in connection with the women’s restroom incidents, his lewd acts never showed up on a background check. That was one more reason why he slipped through the cracks and got hired at a middle school where he is now accused in the bathroom camera incidents.
The lawsuit accused Garcia-Espinal himself, as well as his two employers, of intrusion upon seclusion and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The lawsuit accused Smith Maintenance Company and OrganicLife of negligent hiring, claiming that the companies should have known Garcia-Espinal had “a propensity to film members of the public in the restroom.” The suit accused the companies of failing to inquire about Garcia-Espinal’s history of inappropriate behavior, failing to supervise him so as to prevent cameras from being placed in restrooms, and failing to terminate him when it should have been known he was a threat to the safety of students and staff at the school.
The lawsuit, filed by attorneys Kevin J. Golden and Alex Campos of Dudley & Lake KKC, sought unspecified damage in excess of $50,000.