GOLDEN, Colo. — Four women are sharing their stories with 9NEWS after police arrested their former coworker for allegedly taking lewd videos of them at work without their knowledge.
Golden Police said Chun Min Chiang had 13,000 videos secretly recorded under women's desks, in restrooms and in changing rooms at various locations, many filmed while they were at work at the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC). Police also said they found 200 images and videos of suspected child pornography and exploitation.
The women said they didn't find out about the secret pictures and videos taken of them at work until they spoke with investigators earlier this year, months after their employer found out. All are former employees of the Colorado Mountain Club, where Chiang also worked.
9NEWS has agreed to not use some of their names because they are victims of sexual exploitation. Brittany Smith and Maryjane Jarvis wanted their names shared. They all said they were victims of Chun Min Chiang, a former Colorado Mountain Club employee now facing charges including stalking and posting private images for harassment.
Smith said a hidden camera was found under her desk, disguised as a phone charger.
"They were placed at table level so the image that I identified was of a woman's private parts," said Smith. "You spend so much time at your workplace and our workplace was a family. We loved coming to work there every day. We spent extra hours there hanging out together. To know that a place that felt like home was violated is devastating and heartbreaking."
The women said they were forced out of their jobs with the Colorado Mountain Club after they spoke up about not feeling safe returning back to work. The nonprofit organization denies those allegations.
"There are good days and bad days. Today is not a good day. I feel like I can't trust anyone anymore," said one former employee who asked to be unnamed. "I feel like I’ve lost everything. I put my entire life into the CMC and I don’t even know where to go from here."
Police got involved after Chiang posted a link to a pornography site on the club's Instagram account in September 2020. Golden Police said Chiang hacked into the Instagram account and posted the video of a woman at her home, taken without her knowledge.
In a statement released to 9NEWS, the Colorado Mountain Club says it is "appalled and disgusted" by Chiang's alleged actions.
"The defendant’s employment terminated in November 2019 following an investigation of his conduct, unrelated to any of the alleged criminal activity. We reported a hack of our Instagram account to authorities in September 2020 and were later informed that the defendant was under criminal investigation in December 2020. We have cooperated fully in the criminal investigation, and through this cooperation have become aware that the Golden Police Department has notified several adult female individuals that they have been named as victims in this case," the statement read in part.
The club says it learned of the hidden cameras at the time police notified them and began investigating.
A second former employee who asked 9NEWS not to use her name said she didn't find out Chiang allegedly took pictures of her in the bathroom at work until earlier this year when Golden Police asked her to identify herself in the photos. This was months after her employer learned of the investigation.
"I was one of those people who was completely in the dark. I had confidence that the leadership was there to protect me. It was only after I spoke with the detectives and some of my other colleagues that I learned all of this stuff that had been going on without my knowledge," the woman said. "When I went in there, I was shown images that were taken of me in the bathroom and asked to identify myself. At first, I was in denial. No one thinks that’s going to happen to them."
Others still worry there are pictures they don't know about.
"I have nightmares about it a lot, that they're going to find a file eventually. For some reason it's been really hard to not see them," another former employee said.
Colorado Mountain Club describes itself as the state's "leading organization dedicated to adventure, recreation, conservation and education." It organizes treks, summer camps and prints guides to the outdoors.
Tuesday, a complaint was filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Colorado Civil Rights Division alleging the organization didn't do enough to keep victims of sexual harassment and exploitation safe. Attorney Paula Greisen filed the complaint on behalf of eight clients.
"With 13,000 videos, I think it's reasonable to say that there [is] a multitude of victims out there and we still don't know who most of them are," Greisen said. "This is a horrific instance of complete and utter failure by leadership and management at the Colorado Mountain Club to properly screen their employees and make sure that sexual predators aren't allowed to run free in the workplace."
It's not the first time Chiang has been accused of doing something like this. He registered as a sex offender in April 2006 after he was convicted of sexual assault for taking inappropriate pictures of women without their knowledge, according to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
He was hired by the mountain club to work in human resources and IT following the conviction and worked there for more than a decade, according to the club. The Colorado Mountain Club told 9NEWS it conducts background checks on all employees and that Chiang may have falsified his background to a state agency.
"During the criminal investigation, we have learned that the defendant may have falsified his background to a state agency prior to his employment with us. We conduct all required background checks. This encompasses our positions that work with youth. The defendant did not work with youth while employed with us. The Golden Police Department has further ensured us that the defendant did not victimize any youth at CMC," the statement from Colorado Mountain Club read.
The women say Chiang was enabled by leadership at the club. After the pictures and videos were revealed, the women asked to take time off to come to terms with what happened. They say they asked for the club to make safety improvements in the workplace, like sweeping their homes and laptops to make sure Chiang no longer had access. They say that never happened, they didn't feel safe returning and they were pushed out of their jobs.
"When CMC didn't take any actions really to keep us safe or make us feel better about going back to work, it kind of felt like that community deserted us," said Jarvis. "They either wanted to push it under the rug or they wanted us to get out. We definitely all felt like damaged goods."
You can read the full statement from Colorado Mountain Club below:
"We are appalled and disgusted by the actions of the defendant. Just as we have for many months, we continue to take steps to assist our current and former employees, volunteers and stakeholders through this difficult time.
We were not aware of the defendant’s criminal background until we were advised of the same by the Golden Police Department as part of the current criminal case. The defendant was hired over a decade prior to the incidents at issue in the criminal case, based on knowledge of his work with another reputable and long standing Colorado employer. During the criminal investigation, we have learned that the defendant may have falsified his background to a state agency prior to his employment with us. We conduct all required background checks. This encompasses our positions that work with youth. The defendant did not work with youth while employed with us. The Golden Police Department has further ensured us that the defendant did not victimize any youth at CMC.
The Colorado Mountain Club is a nonprofit focused on community, education, adventure, and conservation. Our values and mission-driven culture are not limited to the outdoors—we also endeavor to create a safe and inclusive space for our employees, volunteers, members, and partners. We do not tolerate discrimination or sexual harassment. The defendant’s employment terminated in November 2019 following an investigation of his conduct, unrelated to any of the alleged criminal activity. We reported a hack of our Instagram account to authorities in September 2020 and were later informed that the defendant was under criminal investigation in December 2020. We have cooperated fully in the criminal investigation, and through this cooperation have become aware that the Golden Police Department has notified several adult female individuals that they have been named as victims in this case. CMC has also been named as a victim in the criminal case. We did not have any knowledge of the defendant using cameras to victimize people until we received notice of the same from law enforcement.
Throughout the criminal investigation and now the criminal case, we have continued to work with current and former employees regarding their concerns related to the defendant and his actions. We have provided individualized support to ensure the safety and well-being of our current and former employees, including:
- Immediately conducting a professional sweep of our building. No cameras or electronic recording devices were found during this professional sweep;
- Immediately rekeying all building perimeter, and master and office locks, as well as resetting all alarm codes;
- Bringing in two IT companies to audit internal computer security to ensure no system vulnerabilities exist. No privacy vulnerabilities have been located;
- Providing all employees four additional weeks of paid time off for any needs related to the defendant’s actions and the criminal case. Also allowing any employee who requested to, to exhaust all other paid leave;
- Providing access to individual counseling;
- Providing access to group counseling;
- While there is no evidence that employees’ laptops were compromised, offering and providing any employees directly victimized by the defendant or who were concerned for their personal safety a new computer when the employee was ready to return to work; and
- Providing any employees directly victimized by the defendant or who were concerned for their personal safety access to individualized services as requested such Lifelock and a forensic sweep of their home.
The Colorado Mountain Club is the Rocky Mountains’ community for mountaincraft education, adventure, and conservation. We come together to share our love of the mountains. Since our founding in 1912, we’ve built a legacy of responsible outdoor leadership and ethics. We are appalled and disgusted by the actions of the defendant and continue to stand in support of all the victims named in the criminal case, as well as our employees, volunteers and stakeholders, while our tight knit community continues to process the events surrounding the criminal case. We are thankful for the overwhelming support from the CMC community and the gratitude that has been expressed by many in our community for our transparency and leadership through this difficult time."
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