Ennis commissioner sued for videotaping employees
By 09/06/2007 00:00:00
Suit filed even before convicted of any crime
ENNIS - Ennis City Commissioner and local dentist, Stephen Craig Durbin, has been sued by his female employees, who had discovered a hidden camera in the dressing room where they changed out of their regular attire and into work scrubs.
Durbin was charged on Aug. 17 with improper photography or video recording, a state jail felony which carries a maximum penalty of two years in state jail and a $10,000 fine.
The law suit states, 'The employees were required to wear medical uniforms known as scrubs and the scrubs were provided by Durbin and the employees were required to change into the scrubs from their personal clothes at the beginning of each shift and to change back into their personal clothes and leave the scrubs at the end of their shift.
'The plaintiffs discovered a hidden camera concealed on a shelf in the workplace dressing room where (the) plaintiffs undress and change clothing.
'After discovering the camera, (the) plaintiff's took it to Radio Shack and confirmed it was a short range camera which would transmit images to a computer screen.
When Durbin was confronted by two of the plaintiffs, the lawsuit states, 'He admitted to filming and watching his employees while they were changing in and out of their work scrubs for his sexual gratification.
'Later that evening the employees met at the home (of one of the plaintiffs) to discuss the situation and Dr. Durbin, who had apparently been tracking their whereabouts called to inquire if he could meet with his employees.
'The employees agreed and Dr. Durbin came to the home (of one of the plaintiffs) where he admitted to having a problem with voyeurism and pornography.
'Plaintiffs recorded this conversation with Stephen Craig Durbin by use of a recorder that one of the plaintiffs had in their pocket.'
The employees went to court on Friday, Aug. 31 to go in front of the judge to get a temporary injunction to prevent Durbin from destroying or removing any other evidence which may not have been found when Detective Mike Hopson of the Ennis Police Department originally served Durbin's office with a search warrant.
'Predators like this, who have this type of perversion usually exchange photos,' said Clay Jenkins, the local attorney representing the employees in the civil suit against Durbin.
There were several items recovered during the search of Durbin's office, but it was unknown at the time of this publication what exactly had been seized.
'At this time we are not aware of how many photos there are and where they went,' said Jenkins.
Don Young, the attorney representing Durbin in the civil suit said, 'They contended they had a temporary injunction but it was found it didn't exist because a bond for $5,000 was never posted so it was never in effect.'
Young contends the two parties came up with an agreement before they actually went in front of the judge and the agreement was Durbin would not destroy any evidence, if it actually existed.
'The judge granted our motion for a temporary injunction and it was not opposed by Dr. Durbin's civil attorney,' said Jenkins.
'I think the case is progressing and we will leave no stone unturned in our efforts to protect these women.
'They agreed not to destroy any evidence we are requesting.'
The lawsuit also states, 'Plaintiffs were not disgruntled employees as Stephen Craig Durbin seeks to portray them.
'Rather they are proud members of the community and faithful employees who had served for a combined total of 83 years before they discovered the perverted acts of their employer.'
Young said, 'These people are trying their civil case in the newspaper.'
'He (Durbin) has not even been convicted of any crime against these women.'
Another hearing was set for February for the civil case against Durbin.