DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — A settlement between the state of Iowa and three of its Department of Revenue workers whose genitals were secretly photographed by a male colleague while they were going to the bathroom won't bring the matter to a close, as files found on the fired employee's work computer show he may have victimized dozens of other men.
The State Appeal Board voted Monday to settle the 2017 lawsuit brought by Daniel Wagner, Lloyd Lofton and Joshua Bates for $900,000. The men, who will each pocket $185,290, said coworker Kenneth Kerr stalked them at work and that supervisors failed to act when they complained about it.
Now, state lawyers are going through evidence to see if there are other identifiable victims, said Lynn Hicks, a spokesman for the Iowa attorney general's office.
“We’re looking at that information and we're trying to determine what current and former employees can be identified from that information,” Hicks said. “We’re not done with that process, but our intention is to notify those employees who are identified and affected.”
In their federal lawsuit, which had been scheduled to go to trial this week, the three plaintiffs claimed Kerr followed them into workplace restrooms and surreptitiously took photos and videos of their genitals. They said that when they reported it, supervisors didn't take the issue seriously and allowed Kerr’s behavior to continue for years.
Kerr was investigated and fired in 2015 after Lofton caught him secretly recording him on video with a cellphone underneath a restroom stall partition. Kerr was charged and pleaded guilty in 2016 to invasion of privacy and sexually motivated stalking. He was sentenced to two years of probation and ordered to register as a sex offender.
While going through his work computer, investigators found a 250-page journal in which Kerr had made observations about at least a dozen other men and a spreadsheet in which he ranked the genitals of 60 men, including several state employees, according to court documents.
Court documents containing the identities of additional potential victims were sealed at the request of the Iowa Attorney General’s office, which represented the state in the lawsuit. Lawyers for the state are going through the evidence, including the journal, spreadsheet and photos, to see if there are other identifiable victims, Hicks said.
Melissa Schilling, the attorney who represented Wagner, Lofton and Bates, said the state has a responsibility to notify other individuals who may be victims.
“My clients hope the state follows through with its pledge to notify other victims they are able to identify,” she said. “Notice to the victims and the settlement in this case are the first steps toward helping my clients move forward personally and professionally.”
Schilling said her clients are also settling their lawsuit against Kerr, though she wouldn't disclose the terms.
Kerr admitted that he followed men into restrooms and frequently tried to take photos or videos of them partially undressed.
“I had a deep addiction to pornography at that time,” he said in April depositions taken by lawyers in the lawsuit.
Kerr also admitted that he relapsed and that in 2017, he was found to have violated the terms of his probation and was sent to a residential facility to undergo counseling. He has since completed the terms of his probation , but he is still in treatment and is listed on the state's sex offender registry.
Schilling believes the Revenue Department treated the accusations indifferently because it was male-on-male harassment and there was a lack of awareness among supervisors as to what constituted sexual harassment.
“They were not trained on how to respond to the circumstances of this case,” she said.
Thompson said at the appeal board meeting that the primary supervisors involved no longer work at the agency.
Two of the supervisors retired and the director of the agency at the time of the harassment resigned in January to take a job as a private attorney.
Wagner, Lofton and Bates still work at the agency.