Laundry worker put camera into women's locker room at hospital
A laundry man who installed a hidden camera into the shower of a women’s locker room was caught after gardaí found footage of him on the camera, a court has heard.
The victims were working at the National Rehabilitation Hospital at Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire.
John Whelan had 885 images of the women stored on his laptop and filed in folders under the names of the victims.
The camera was spotted by a chef when she was taking a shower. Whelan had moved it into the shower area from a changing room where he had set it up six months earlier.
When gardaí examined the camera they found only footage of Whelan installing the device.
Whelan admitted using the camera installed in the first location over the previous six months to record the 885 images and 30 videos of the women undressing and in their underwear.
Whelan (42), Farrenboley Park, Windy Arbour, pleaded guilty at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court to harassment of eight women at the National Rehabilitation Hospital in 2011/12.
Judge Martin Nolan suspended a jail term of four years after noting that Whelan was the significant carer for his elderly and sick parents. “If it had gone on much longer and the photographs had been more explicit my hand may have been forced so Mr Whelan is very lucky”, the judge said.
Garda Sgt Colm Ó Giolláin told John Fitzgerald, prosecuting, that Whelan was a contracted laundry worker at the hospital and had access to staff changing rooms.
The court heard that he had become obsessed with one woman and that he initially set the camera up in the changing room to get pictures of her. He denied that he was doing it for sexual gratification.
The victims, who were previously on good terms with Whelan, said they felt betrayed and repulsed. Whelan lost his job, Caroline Biggs SC, defending, said.
He was a single man who lived with his elderly parents and was the sole carer for his father who had Alzheimer’s. His mother had had a stroke and he was suffering from severe depression and anxiety.