Saint Mary’s employee fired, arrested for voyeurism on campus
“Home feels a little less like home today,” junior Tess Siver said Tuesday after the report of voyeuristic privacy violation on the Saint Mary’s campus.
A maintenance employee of the College was terminated from his position Tuesday after a co-worker reported suspicious behavior in a bathroom on the fourth floor of Le Mans Hall Monday afternoon, according to an email from College President Carol Ann Mooney.
A report from WNDU identified 73-year-old David Summerfield as the employee.
Director of media relations Gwen O’Brien said the initial report noted that the employee may have observed students in the bathroom. After the report, he was immediately confronted by superiors and admitted to the allegation, she said.
Within two hours of the initial report, he was suspended without pay and escorted off campus. Since then, his employment has been terminated, O’Brien said.
On Monday evening, College officials notified the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit, who began an immediate police investigation, O’Brien said. The investigation led to Summerfield’s arrest Tuesday morning for voyeurism.
Mooney notified students, parents, faculty and staff of the situation in an email sent Tuesday afternoon. In the email, Mooney apologized for the incident and praised the employee who came forward with the initial report.
“The safety, privacy and security of our students are our primary concerns,” Mooney said. “This type of behavior is repugnant, and Saint Mary’s College will not tolerate it.
“As soon as this was reported to us, we acted swiftly to remove the person from campus. We have taken measures that prevent anyone else from being able to spy into restrooms. In addition, we are evaluating all space on campus to ensure privacy.”
Mooney invited students, faculty and staff to an assembly in O’Laughlin Auditorium on Tuesday afternoon to address concerns. The assembly was not open to the public.
O’Brien said students who need services or support in dealing with this incident can access counseling through Women’s Health and Campus Ministry. In addition, the Residence Life staff is on hand to provide assistance, she said.
Siver, a resident of the fourth floor of Le Mans Hall, said she felt simultaneously shocked and violated.
“It breaks my heart that mine and my neighbors’ memories of our time in Le Mans will be tainted, but as always, the SMC community will pull together and move past this,” she said.
Siver said she feels that Saint Mary’s has been as forthcoming and open with students about the incident as possible.
“I hope they continue to be open with students throughout the investigation, particularly those students who live in areas of Le Mans that have been most affected,” she said.
Junior Kelley Wright, another fourth floor resident, agreed with Siver, extending her personal thanks to Mooney for her open and honest response to the situation during the college-wide forum.
“I think the immediate forum that was held today was very important for everyone, not just the residents of 4th floor Le Mans,” Wright said.
Wright said she hopes the College responds to the situation in a way that makes students feel safer and restores a sense of privacy.
“I am anxiously awaiting what the College is going to do to ensure that this doesn’t happen again,” she said.