ST. PETERS, Mo – A man has been busted for recording nude women tanning at a local gym. Moreover he is accused of recording his sister, girlfriend and dozens more in various stages of undress.
Michael A. Koch, 26, posted the photos, taken between May 2016 and November 2017, to a Russian photo-sharing website, according to the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
Koch posted 175 photos of women in various stages of nudity on the site, Fox 2 St. Louis reported, citing court records. Investigators said 41 photos of unidentified women are believed to have been taken inside private tanning booths at Club Fitness in St. Peters, a St. Louis suburb, the station reported.
Koch worked at that Club Fitness location from 2010 until 2017.
According to Officer Melissa Doss with the St. Peters Police Department, it appears the photos were taken inside private tanning booths. The number of women is unknown because there may be multiple photos of some of the women.
“There’s a lot of good images of faces and identifiable tattoos that if we could just get a name to it, it’d be really helpful,” said Doss.
Doss said it does not appear photos were taken in any other part of the gym.
Court documents say the Russian website contacted the Department of Homeland Security about the case. Investigators traced the account back to Koch and local police were contacted.
In one instance, Koch was seen holding his cellphone over a partition separating his tanning booth from that of a female customer, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The photos included six images of his girlfriend nude and engaging in sexual acts with Koch, the St. Peters police detective told the Post-Dispatch.
The girlfriend told police she was unaware the photos were taken and posted online, the report said.
Koch also photographed his sister with a hidden camera when she was fully nude, the paper reported, citing court records. The photos appeared to be taken in the bathroom of their home in O’Fallon, police told the paper. The sister told police she did not know she had been photographed and had not given permission, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Koch was charged with two counts of invasion of privacy and one count of attempted invasion of privacy, KDVR reported.
He posted $15,000 bond and was released the same day, Fox 2 reported.
Michelle Micheletti, director of marketing for Club Fitness, issued a statement to the station.
“Club Fitness takes every measure to ensure the personal privacy and security of our employees and members. Should there be any suspicions or reports about inappropriate actions or privacy abuse, we will contact the authorities immediately,” she said.
Doss said any women who tanned at the Club Fitness Tan in St. Peters in 2016 and 2017 and may be concerned that their photo was taken without consent can contact the St. Peters Police Department at 636-278-2244 x3540. Callers will be asked to provide their name.
“Then, we’ll pull a driver’s license picture and try to compare it to some of the unidentified women on the images to see if they match closely or match at all with those women and go from there,” said Doss adding women may be asked to describe tattoos, marks, scars or other identifying features. Investigators will be the only ones to see the photos, according to Doss.