ST. PETERS, MO - The St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged an O’Fallon, Missouri man for allegedly photographing or video recording women without their consent while they were tanning at a local gym.
Michael Koch, 26, was arrested Tuesday (March 5) and charged with two counts of invasion of privacy and one count of attempted invasion of privacy. He posted $1,500 bond and was released the same day.
According to court records, Koch posted 175 pictures of women in various stages of undress on a Russian photo-sharing website. Investigators say they have 41 photos of unidentified women believed to have been taken inside the Club Fitness Tan on North St. Peters Parkway between May 2016 and November 2017.
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.
The attempted invasion of privacy charge stems from an incident at the same Club Fitness location in September 2018. In that case, authorities said Koch was in a tanning booth and took cellphone images of a woman undressing in the booth next to him by standing on a chair and stretching his arm over the partition.
Court records say the woman caught Koch in the act and notified club management. Police said security footage supported the woman's report.
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.
Michelle Micheletti, Director of Marketing for Club Fitness, issued a statement saying, "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."