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Couple files $75,000 lawsuit after finding hidden cameras recording in Airbnb

‘I definitely have had many cry sessions about it,’ woman says

Kaleigh Werner
New York
Thursday 27 July 2023 11:23 BST
Related: Airbnb guests claim they found hidden cameras watching them as they changed

A couple has filed a $75,000 lawsuit against an Airbnb owner after they allegedly found hidden cameras recording them during their stay.

In August 2022, Texas couple Kayelee Gates and her fiancé Christian Capraro stayed in property owner Christoper Goisse’s vacation rental in Silver Springs, Maryland. The two were engaging in intimate activity in the bathroom before they allegedly located disguised cameras recording them. They had moved into the main room, “laid down on the bed, put a movie on and began to relax,” per the filing report. When Gates and Capraro’s looked up at the ceiling, the pair noticed there were two smoke detectors in the room: one directly above the bed and one in the corner.

As they moved closer to inspect the devices, they noticed what appeared to be cameras hidden in plain sight and were convinced they found another in the bathroom. They took one device in the bedroom down, at which point they allegedly confirmed it was a recording camera.

In the lawsuit, Gates opened up about the sense of fear and anxiety that consumed her after finding the hidden camera. “I definitely have had many cry sessions about it,” she said. “Like, I can feel my heart start beating really heavy and fluttery whenever I start thinking about a situation. Whenever I start thinking about the situation – I get a little shaky even talking about it.”

The woman admitted she felt “embarrassment, humiliation, disgrace and loss of dignity”.

“It gives me the heebie geebies not knowing if someone looks at me weird if there’s a potential they have seen it. That always lurks in the back of my head every time I meet somebody,” Gates continued.

Gates and Capraro relocated to a nearby hotel where they called in a report to the police. When the Maryland authorities searched the Silver Spring property, they found an additional hidden camera in the basement of the house, where other Airbnb renters were staying.

Dan Whitney, a Maryland attorney, claimed: “Now it’s a Pandora’s box of uncertainty. Once that box is open, once that recording is made, it’s impossible to know where it went, who sent it, has it been shared, has it gone on the internet?”

According to a Fox 5 report, Goisse “denied any wrongdoing” and alluded to the possibility that his guest had planted the cameras before contacting authorities. Per the filing, the property owner “refused to allow MCPD to search the bedroom where his twin brother Larry was staying, which had a locked door.” The family member eventually left the room, but not before he was presumed to destroy the evidence.

Kayelee Gates and her fiancé Christian Capraro (Fox 5 Image)

Montgomery County Police has not commented on the case because of the ongoing litigation. Gates and Capraro are asking for more than $75,000 as a result of emotional stress caused, according to Whitney. Goisse has 30 days to respond.

“I think that what happened to our clients is the tip of the iceberg regarding hidden cameras in Airbnbs and other short-term rentals,” Whitney told The Independent. “There is an element of trust and duty between every short-term rental guest and the host that a safe and private space will be provided in exchange for the guest’s payment. When a host violates that trust and duty, and fails to provide a safe and private space, the host can be held legally responsible for the guest’s injuries and damages.”

Whitney recogonised the emotional and traumatic effect that hidden cameras can have on individuals, adding that the “victim’s life is never the same, and the knowledge that they were secretly recorded becomes a life long burden”. He added: “There are many legal rights available to victims of hidden cameras, but no amount of money can restore privacy that was violated.”

The Independent has reached out to Gates and Goisse for comments as well.

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