#936: “My best friend’s partner secretly records his guests while they are in the bathroom.”

Oh yeah. You read that right. Putting this one behind a cut.

Dear Captain Awkward,

My best friend and her fiancé invited my boyfriend and I away for the weekend to her parents’ house in the country. She and I have been best friends since we were 13 (we are now 29) and I am also very close with her fiancé as they have been together for 9 years now, we have a lot in common and the three of us are extremely close. Boyfriend has met best friend a few times but it was his first time meeting her fiancé and they got along really well (we’ve been dating for about a year).

We had a really lovely weekend until yesterday, when we were due to leave. My boyfriend and I had jumped into the shower in the guest bathroom, then I got out and went to our room to dress and start packing our bags. Shortly after my boyfriend came in and was acting really weird, checking the wardrobe and the windowsills and ignoring me when I asked him what he was looking for. He then quietly told me he’d found cameras in the guest bathroom, and they were recording. I thought he was making a mistake, but then he took me in and showed them to me – there was one pointing at the toilet and two pointing at the shower, I’d mistaken them for powerpacks but he showed me the lenses and got me to touch them to see that they were running hot. He also looked the model up on his phone and showed me that they were marketed as “hidden cameras” (he works in IT so he knows what he’s talking about).

We assumed it was my best friend’s mother’s partner (let’s call him Jack), who was a friendly older man that I’d only met a couple of times before. I was horrified as my best friend and her fiancé often brought friends and family up to the house for weekends away (she partially owned the property with her mother) and if we had been filmed without our consent so many other guests could have been as well. Boyfriend decided to go to speak privately to fiancé about what to do. Fiancé was naturally horrified, and between the three of us we agreed to remove the cameras from the bathroom so that boyfriend could see exactly what had been recorded. Fiancé was reluctant to tell best friend as Jack had been like a father to her for the past 15 years or so, but boyfriend and I weren’t comfortable keeping something like that from her (for all I knew he had been filming her too) Also this obviously affected her mother and we felt it was only fair for her to decide how to proceed.

He agreed that he would tell her, and we decided that he would keep one of the cameras to show her and boyfriend and I would hold on to the other two. We would leave immediately, and they would leave soon after and fiancé was going to tell her in the car on the way home. We discussed meeting for dinner back in our home city to discuss what we wanted to do. Boyfriend and I left, and when we got back to our hometown fiancé called us and told us he still hadn’t told best friend, and wasn’t sure if he should as he didn’t want to upset her. I told him straight up that I couldn’t keep a secret like that from her, plus who knew who else Jack had been filming (children had stayed there before too). He said he needed some time to process everything but would tell her that night.

Boyfriend dropped me home and went home to review the footage to see exactly what had been recorded. A few hours later, fiancé called me and told me that he told best friend, and that it was him, not Jack, who had set up the cameras. I was in shock, and he put it on speakerphone so I knew that best friend was with him while he was talking to me. He apologised profusely, and said it wasn’t the first time he had done it and that he would be getting help and that he hoped I could forgive him. We agreed to get dinner later in the week to talk about it, and I told them both that I still loved them and we would work things out.

I then called my boyfriend and told him. He already knew as he’d seen the tapes, which showed fiancé’s face very clearly as he set the cameras up. He had been debating whether to tell me the truth or not as he knew how close we were. I asked my boyfriend if he was okay (as he’s obviously also naked on these tapes) and he said he was fine, he was more worried about me as he’d only just met fiancé but he knew we’d been friends for almost a decade.

I honestly don’t know how I am. I love fiancé as a friend and he’s always been such a good partner to my best friend, I really don’t know what to do. I’m also not sure if I should contact my best friend privately and ask how she is, as we haven’t spoken at all since I found this out (it’s only been a day but still). I don’t know what this means, I don’t know if it’s about the voyeurism or if it’s about me (fiancé said on the phone that he’d only done it to me, not anyone else). There was also an incident years ago which I thought I dreamt but now I’m thinking it happened (someone touching me in my sleep when only best friend and fiance were home).

Captain if you have any insight at all on what to do I would really appreciate it, I don’t even know how to begin processing this or what I should be doing to move forward. I’m upset, and I feel very paranoid whenever I enter a bathroom, but I’m not angry, if anything I’m worried for best friend and fiancé. My boyfriend has been completely wonderful and supportive through all of this too, and I’m also worried for him.


Follow-up email:

Hi Captain, 

Sorry just one more thing, boyfriend is now talking about getting the police involved as overnight he thought about the fact that fiancé is a pub manager, and he thinks that if he’s done this to us who knows who else it has happened to? I don’t know what to say because I feel like doing that would completely destroy my relationship with best friend, and I’m hoping he’s only done this to us and no one else, but at the same time I don’t want to invalidate boyfriend’s feelings about this as he is a victim in the situation. I don’t really have anyone I can talk to about this as my friends all know each other and I’m worried that if I tell them they won’t want to associate with best friend anymore and I love her and don’t want her to be ostracized.


Dear Panicked,

Your care & concern for your friend is admirable here. But this situation is screamingly not okay and you are not a bad friend if you refuse to make peace or spackle it over.

To review:

  • Her fiancé is a creeplord who secretly records people, including you, including your boyfriend, including possibly* his employees & customers at his pub, including other guests at that house, including the kids.
  • When y’all caught him at it his first action was to lie to you and blame it on someone else and put on a big show of concern for your friend. He didn’t have enough actual concern for her to not do it, mind you, just a big show of “she’s gonna be devastated, let me be the one to tell her.
  • Speaking of him being the one to tell her – It lets him control the narrative of what and how much she knows. Are we even sure he told her everything?**
  • He has repeatedly sought your help in covering things up by making it about not alarming or hurting your friend.
  • He may have touched you without your consent in your sleep?


**We are not sure, friends. Not sure at all.

My question is: If this is the creepy stuff y’all know about and that fiancé will admit to, when he gets caught in his lies, what does the rest of that creepy iceberg (creepberg?) look like? 

Or, to be more clear: If this is what he does to you, what does he do or will he do to your friend?

Nine years is a long time together, and your friend’s fiancé is going to put a TON of pressure on her to forgive and forget. I’m not surprised that she’s gonna put that pressure on you in return. She loves him and would probably give anything to make it all go away, and if you and your boyfriend can helpfully act like all is forgiven and none of it every happened it will help shore up the foundations of her relationship. This whole narrative is dangerously close to becoming a thing where the fiancé is TRYING and why won’t you just GIVE HIM A CHANCE and FORGIVE HIM like y’all would be the ones “ruining” the relationship with a dude who secretly videotaped you in the bathroom. 

What I need you to do right now is to completely re-examine the assumption that this man is some kind of great and loving partner to your friend who is worth keeping on good terms with. He videotapes you, he probably does this to his customers and employees, too! And then he lies about it and lies about it even when he’s caught.

This man is not good enough for your friend.

If he wants to get help and repent and change his ways, then fine, he should go do that! The people he’s violated don’t have to hang out with him and cheerlead while he does.


It’s horrible and unfair to your friend that this is happening and kind of you to want to minimize the shame and potential isolation that will come when this guy’s actions come out into the light. But I think it is 100% not on you or your boyfriend to keep a predator’s secrets.

If you want to be a good friend to your friend, listen to her and remind her that you love her and that this isn’t her fault. But also remind her that she isn’t obligated to stand by her man, forgive, support him, let him play the Prodigal Son with a big party to celebrate turning away from the Creep Side of the Force. It’s okay to dump people for being too creepy for words. It’s okay to kick them out of your friend group and warn others about them. It’s okay to talk honestly about what happened to you and name names without having to spare the feelings or worry about the welfare of someone who violated you. It’s okay to be divided and conflicted about involving law enforcement, it’s also okay to involve law enforcement and let them investigate the full extent of what this dude has been up to, even if that makes your friend sad. It’s okay to say to your friend, “I know you love him and I care about him, too, but he did this terrible thing to us and I can’t hang out with him or be silent about what he did.

I don’t have a way to fix this situation – it’s unfixable at present because y’all are entangled with a predator and a liar. You and your boyfriend didn’t break it and your silence won’t mend it, so do what you need to do to take care of yourselves.

P.S. FUUUUUUUUUUUCK that upcoming “double date of reconciliation where we perform that everything is okay!” Cancel it. Right now it is 150% okay to see your friend, just your friend, when you want to see your friend.


452 thoughts on “#936: “My best friend’s partner secretly records his guests while they are in the bathroom.”

  1. This is super fucking creepy. I have no words of advice, but I think what stood out to me the most was how many times the fiancé encouraged LW and her boyfriend not to tell the best friend under the umbrella of “not wanting to upset her”. Gross. LW, it’s great that you love and care for your friend, but please put yourself (and your boyfriend) first in this situation.

    1. I think the LW and boyfriend are going to have to do a lot of “Ok but let’s talk about how you violated people and not how ‘we’ are the ones upsetting her” reframing. A LOT.

      1. Thank you! If LW and boyfriend come forward, make a stink, press charges, etc. – and I devoutly hope that they do! – *they* aren’t the ones upsetting people. The fiance’s criminal, immoral actions are upsetting people! It’s 100% on him. When he tries to lay a guilt trip on them, and he will, I hope they’ll keep that in mind, always. Yes, their friend will be very upset when she’s told…but how much more upset would she be eventually, if she marries a man who would do this? I mean, he could be taping little kids. How would fiance feel if her kids, or their playmates, are taped in the bathroom someday?? The very best thing LW and boyfriend can do for everyone (including the fiance, who will hopefully get some psychiatric help) is blow. this. s**t. up as soon as possible.

    2. I would say if they haven’t already they should write down a timeline of who said or found what, and when. Because this guy is DEFINITELY going to try and play around with the timeline and they need to be sure they don’t get dragged along into bizarro history with him.

      1. LW, one thing I want to say is that I think you and your boyfriend should prepare for the very real possibility that the fiance (and possibly also your best friend–but I’ll get to that more in a minute) is going to try to gaslight the hell out of you. I foresee a lot of strange squirrelly weirdness about did you really see this or that and when and what did fiance actually say. I mean, you know this guy will happily lie about it if he thinks he can get away with it, and that he’s trying to use your best friend as a human shield (in that he’s claiming that you can’t report what he did because it would hurt her). Furthermore, you have no idea what he is saying to your best friend, so even assuming that she’s completely innocent of wrongdoing (and I don’t see any reason to believe that she isn’t innocent, based on your letter–plenty of good people have horrifying partners), he can pretty easily rope her into the gaslighting by feeding her a completely separate set of lies that serve his purposes.

        Which is to say, unfortunately, that not only can you not trust what he says, you can’t really trust what she says either, necessarily. If you meet with her one on one and she relays a story or explanation, keep your nose primed for the aroma of bullshit. Not because your friend would lie to you, but because if your friend is being lied to–and she almost certainly is if she is living with this degree of a boundary-violating self-serving liar–then even the things that she tells you that she believes are true may not be.

        So, in addition to the ‘talk to an expert (RAINN or equivalent)’ and ‘probably go to law enforcement’ and ‘STAY AWAY FROM THIS DUDE, AND ESPECIALLY DO NOT BE ALONE WITH HIM’ (seriously, if the best excuse he can come up with is that he recorded just you on the toilet, that is STILL terrifying), I would get really clear in your head what you saw and when, what your boyfriend reported to you that he saw and when, what Horrifying Fiance said and when, etc. Document it, make yourself a timeline or even just a little narrative report that you can update as necessary, because this guy is almost certainly going to try to convince you that you didn’t see what you saw or hear what you heard, and unfortunately he might rope your best friend into it even if she’s completely innocent of wrongdoing. When you’re being gaslit (gaslighted?) one of the best defenses is to bring in the clear light of day.

        1. Whoops, didn’t mean this as a reply for Mobuis1, but serendipitously it actually does make sense here!

        2. (Also, I sincerely hope this is unnecessarily paranoid, but if you still have the recordings, I would strongly recommend putting them somewhere that this guy can’t possibly get at them. Especially if your best friend has or has ever had a key to your place. Actually, I sincerely hope this is unnecessarily paranoid, too, but if your best friend has or has ever had a key to your place–which several of my best friends do–I would get the locks changed. Even if this guy really is “just” obsessed with you, you do not want him having access to your place, and it’d be easy for him to get a copy of his fiance’s key made. Even if he isn’t taking recordings of anyone else, which I doubt, someone who is so fixated on you that he takes bathroom creepcam videos of you should not have access to the place where you live, ever, at all.)

          1. Seconding saving the recordings. Keep copies on your PC, but also upload them somewhere – Dropbox is good, you can also upload files to Google Drive. And definitely, DEFINITELY get locks changed. This goes way past Creepsville and right into Red Flag Central. The police will want copies as well, and likely request the cameras as evidence. Document the hell out of everything – and upload copies of THAT to somewhere like Dropbox and Google Drive.

          2. Can I just say, paranoia is an actual specific thing, and respect to anyone who has to deal with it in their life. Being creeped out by a creep does not result in paranoia, but the creeps. Those creeps are totally understandable, and ought not to be pathologised. Ta.

            Simple rule: it ain’t paranoia if you have actually been filmed in the bathroom and then get the creeps when you go to the bathroom.

          3. What cathy said; the word “paranoia” refers to an actual thing, and outside that is itself a form of gaslighting (I’m confident that’s not what Turtle Candle intended, but the language seeps in, I’m sure I’ve done it)

          4. To what arkadyrose says in this thread:

            This may be a moot point, but I would be SO wary of putting these recordings anywhere near the internet. I agree saving the proof is important, but I immediately had visions of this dude “leaking” the videos to revenge porn sites or something along with LW’s personal information. I don’t know how technologically savvy he is, but it’s enough to know how to set up hidden cameras and he’s cunning enough to be pretty slick when caught (Handing over the cameras instead of insisting on keeping them all? That tells me he’s a good actor under pressure. Anyone panicking in that situation would do whatever they could to keep all of the evidence. Instead, he knowingly let them go and had time to come up with a plan for when the truth was inevitably revealed. IDK if I’m at all accurate here, but that detail surprised me enough to make me wonder.)

            I don’t know of more secure ways to keep and copy this stuff, but I’m sure the google has plenty of advice. But email accounts are just too easily hacked for Google Dive or DropBox to feel safe.

            (been lurking for a while, had to comment on this because my brain was screaming)

        3. OMG agreed so much. The writing things down isn’t so much as proof for law enforcement, but as a reassurance TO YOURSELF that your memory is true and accurate. If you’ve never experienced a gaslighter before, it is fucking terrifying having your sense of reality called into question. Write things down. Future-you will thank you for it.

        4. And, sadly, don’t be surprised if best friend chooses his side. She may very well be innocent of involvement in this, but Stockholm is a thing, and if they’ve been together that long, (a) he’s had ample time to get inside her head and (b) she’s going to be heavily invested in her relationship with him, and what that says about her.


      1. It’s not even their bathroom. It’s his partner’s PARENTS’ bathroom. He’s violated their trust too.

        Nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope nope.

        1. Right! A point I made below. Like, he could open her parents up to a world of legal trouble, potentially.

          This guy is garbage.

        2. Violated their trust. ..And then accused one of them of doing it. If the boyfriend hadn’t kept the cameras and reviewed them, would he have let everyone go on believing it was the other guy? For how long? Until someone talked to Best Friend’s Mom? Until police got involved?

          1. Right. That’s the part that keeps making my throat try to close up. Someone downthread used the word “framed,” and that’s totally accurate, because this is a crime. It’s bad enough when someone throws blame to an innocent party under normal non-criminal situations–“who broke the wineglass?”/”oh, uh, it must’ve been Mike, it wasn’t me.” That’s an asshole move, and if it’s repeated and not just a one-time brain-glitch it’s enough to make me not want to be someone’s friend.

            But this is an order of magnitude worse–possibly several orders of magnitude, especially if there are recordings of children. It could result in jail time, and he was willing to throw that on his fiance’s stepfather. (I mean, given that his FACE was on the recording, it probably wouldn’t have gone very far, but still. And had he been able to keep control of the recordings, he might’ve been able to erase that part.)

            I think that best friend’s parents need to know, simply in order to protect themselves.

          2. Yes, this is terrifying in more ways than one. He put Jack – a man who his partner considers to be like a father and who’s been in an in-law like relationship with him for almost a decade – at immense risk by doing this in his house and then allowed others to think Jack was the guilty one as long as he could get away with it.

            Jack and the partner’s mother need to know about this, and I don’t think they’re the only ones, either. If he’s willing to let someone who his partner cares about deeply take the fall, what might he do if someone found a camera in the pub? Is there any reason to think he’d be more loyal to the pub’s owner, or the bartender, or the janitor? The list of people who need to know about this to protect themselves is almost endless, to the point where I think the LW’s boyfriend has found the right solution of contacting the police so that this can be public record.

          3. Oh so true, this trying to blame it on stepdad is incredible creepy. Please consider a (private) conversation with the parents very soon. They need to hear the full story from you, including the bits about how it’s possible other guests/children have been filmed, and the accusations toward stepfather. They need this in part because Creepo may try to repeat his accusations to the police, because they may want to be ready to hand over to the police a list of previous guests (who may also have remained silent over similar touching incidents), to have hard conversations with their guests when this comes out, and most of all to be supportive to their daughter. She will need help, and she’s more likely to seek it from her parents than from the friend who’ bringing it all into the open, sadly.

            Hang on to this boyfriend, LW, he’s a truly good guy 😀. But seriously, go to the police immediately, before Creep gets the cameras out of the club, before he cleans out his hard drives.. And remember that helping your friend consists more of getting this creep out of her life rather than letting him gaslight her further, no matter how she feels about it right now. Express your love and support to her, but don’t take her in confidence with your legal plans so he can’t squeeze the info out of her, making her even more distraught in the long term.

            Big virtual hugs to all concerned are in order..

          1. since we know Creepy Fiance is willing to frame stepdad, you should also presume he would gladly frame LW and boyfriend, and the friend, and the pub workers, and really anybody and everybody else who has been near those cameras.

            You need to turn the evidence over to the police quickly, before it is lost or destroyed and he frames anyone else for this. Also, the friend’s mom and stepdad certainly need to know. They may be victims of previous filming, they may have other cameras still hidden in their house, and they remain at high risk of being framed for his crimes.

    4. Yea she would be upset to find out her fiance secretly videos her best friend.

      She’d be devastated when the man she married and reproduced with gets arrested for sex crimes. Because he is not going to de-esculate his behavior.

      1. And that’s important for LW and boyfriend to remember. Fiance will probably have a big pity party: “I don’t know why I did this, I’ll never, ever do it again if you just don’t tell…” But it’s very, very unlikely that’s the truth (even though he may mean it at the time). So much better to deal with the behavior now than to have it rear its ugly head when this couple is married with children.

    5. Also, I see no proof that fiance has ACTUALLY told best friend in this scenario.
      We only have his word for it – LW has not specified if they have actually had any communication directly with their best friend?
      If they haven’t – they NEED TO, urgently.

  2. WOW! I 100% agree with every single thing the Captain has said here. Frankly I would never be around fiance again. Ever. In any way, shape or form.

  3. CA is giving some solid advice. This is a really not ok situation, and you do not know how deep this rabbit hole goes. During this process of getting support for yourselves and your friend, I would recommend dropping the suggestion to her of creating a safety plan. Regardless of whether she stays or goes, he has already shown himself to be dangerous and deceitful, and we do not fully know in what kinds of ways. Perhaps leaving her with the number or website for a local women’s shelter so she can decide (now, later, never) if her red flags require a safety plan.

    Good luck in these rough days ahead.

  4. I worry that this dinner later on is going to be another chance for the fiance to take control of the narrative & continue the story about how remorseful he is and how he didn’t want to upset LW’s friend by telling her. It sounds like talking to the friend alone (and that might mean “out of the house, in person” to make sure there’s no direct or indirect monitoring happening) is going to be important too.
    This is so creepy and upsetting, wow. 😦

    1. I agree. I think LW and friend need some alone time to discuss things, to make sure that Fiancee isn’t directing the narrative in any way. Both on the level of maintaining the friendship and supporting the friend, and also to talk about the effects on LW herself, and any conclusions that LW and boyfriend have come to about calling the police.

      1. YES. 100% agree to meet alone with Best Friend without Fiance there to control the narrative and do the work of telling her what he did to you. Be prepared for her to minimize because this is a man she’s been involved with for, wow, NINE years, but she may well do the good best friend thing, in which case she will need someone to be there for her as she reevaluates 9 years of life with this creep.

    2. One hundred percent agree with ” that might mean “out of the house, in person” to make sure there’s no direct or indirect monitoring happening.” Unless you are face to face with best friend in a public location or turf you control you can’t be sure Creepy McCreepface isn’t listening in.

      1. I’m so sorry you were attacked, LW

        Reframe: this man is a predator and a criminal.
        This is what a predator and a criminal looks and sounds like.
        You were attacked by a predator and a criminal, who is now trying to coerce you.

        I happened to be reading up on laws on these cameras. Did the cameras record audio? In my US state, this compounds the crime.
        Best friend should also check her phone for mystery apps, check which apps are using the phone camera and mic, better idea do a factory reset on it. Same with laptop.
        Change all passwords, including home wifi. Set for “restrict access to known devices.”
        Check banking app, turn on alerts.

        Write everything down as your own account, separate from bf.

  5. OP, I have an inkling how you feel – been in a similar situation before. It sucks majorly. But you will be ok in bathrooms again, I promise. Take care of yourself, get professional help if you need it, give yourself time to process and recover, and you’ll be ok in the end. Hopefully sooner rather than later, but it will come.

  6. Yyyyeah, I would be VERY surprised if he hadn’t done this elsewhere, especially if he went to the trouble to fucking set all this up at a house that isn’t even the one he lives in.

      1. To say nothing whatever of his pub patrons!

        Ugh, I just realized this man has control over things that other people eat and drink (I know it wasn’t stated how often he’s on the premises, but you have to admit that’s not really that important at this point)…

      2. I can guarantee you he’s either selling or sharing this. Including video of the fiancee. It’s highly likely that there is video of her being passed around on one of the creepy corners of the net.

        The major issue isn’t the video, it’s the consent violation.

        She needs to call RAINN and get advice and support.

        She needs to involve the police in the jurisdiction where the taping occurred.

        If she goes to this dinner and it is legal in her state, she needs to record the conversation.

        1. Thanks for the perspective. It hadn’t even occurred to me that he was selling the videos, but now it feels really freaking obvious that he is.

          Site motto: It can always get more horrifying.

          1. One of the downsides of being a lawyer that represents child victims of abuse: I’ve seen this too many times.

            They need to contact the FBI or the police where this occurred ASAP.

            If they are in the USA: https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices

            If they are not in the USA, contact whatever federal unit deals with these types of issues.

          2. And LW and boyfriend also need to consider the cameras and video on them to be evidence, which may open them up to legal difficulties if they tamper with, discard, or just hold on to them until someone finds the cameras at the pub and it can be spun that they were hiding that evidence from the authorities.

            Under no circumstances do they owe either best friend or predator fiance taking on that legal trouble for themselves. A lawyer can help them sort out exactly what their risks and obligations are at this point, if they are still reluctant to go to the police.

          3. If he is selling these videos, it’s also possible that he filmed the (probable) assault he committed while LW was asleep, since pornography of that nature is somewhat in line with the hidden camera pornography he is for-sure filming. And I also wonder if he perhaps felt secure that she wouldn’t wake up. Does LW ever drink with best friend and fiancé? Does he fix the drinks?

            LW, your boyfriend is right. There are too many alarming possibilities. Here be dragons. Made of bees.

        2. Also, LW has known fiance for nine years, and the chances of them having caught the fiance the very first time that he set up cameras is pretty small. In fact, lying liar fiance has said as much himself while trying to minimize his wrongdoing, since ‘it wasn’t the first time he had done it’ + ‘fiancé said on the phone that he’d only done it to me’ = fiance has videoed the LW multiple times in the past.

          So videos of LW are also likely being sold or shared. Police. Police, now.

    1. This almost exact situation happened to a coworker of mine. (He was discovered when a friend went to grab some vacation videos off his laptop and opened a file with her name on it. He had been filming at his home and his cabin for years.) End result: he got fired, it was in the newspaper, he and his wife got divorced – they had a brand new baby. It was a giant huge mess.

      There is no clean way out of this situation. That is why I shared that story. I believe you have an obligation to talk to your friend, privately without fiancé there. And then you go to the police. This is a crime and the fact that he is a business owner means it is possible (likely) he has done this on a wider scale. Honestly, I might go straight to the police, right now, because there’s a good chance this guy has already deleted all his files & tried to cover tracks as much as possible. But I can also understand wanting to go to your friend first.

      1. Yeah, I was just thinking about timing in going to the police. If you tell the friend or the fiance that you’re going to the police, he’ll have a chance to get rid of cameras and delete videos. I’d argue that if you’re going to go to the police, you should give them as much of a chance to get as much evidence as possible. If he cleans up his act and then the police show up, it gets messy and the lies and recriminations will be endless. Much better, if the police are involved, if he’s caught red handed. (Given the up-thread mentions that he’s very likely filming many people, including children, and he’s almost certainly sharing or selling the videos, I’d encourage you to get the police involved.)

        1. Everyone is giving you such good advice about how to deal with Fiancee and how to talk to the police if you want to. Nice work, Awkward Army.

          LW, I want to say first and foremost that it’s not your job to help your friend break free of this creeper. However, if you *are* feeling the urge to have a sit-down talk with your friend, I would encourage you to do so after you talk to the police, and ensure that her fiance is not there (but assume that you may be recorded during the conversation). Plan for the fact that you will likely only get one shot at speaking your piece and having your friend hear you out. She may not be able to really engage with what you’re saying in the moment; she’s bound to be having a lot of feelings about the fact that this person she loves has done something so gross. But telling her that you worry about her relationship with her fiance, and explaining your reasons for worrying, and letting her know that you support her and care about her, can be way more helpful than it may seem in the moment. Speaking as someone who has dated people who weren’t good for me: when my friends told me why they were worried about me and why they feared that my relationship wasn’t healthy for me, I got super defensive in the moment, but later on I thought more about what my friends had said and really took it under advisement.

          Like I said, it’s not on you to convince your friend to get out of this relationship. You couldn’t possibly do that all by yourself, because she’s the only person who can decide how she feels about her relationship and whether or not she wants to stay in it. But contributing your thoughts, letting her know why you’re worried about her, and letting her know that you care about her and are available if she ever wants to talk — that stuff is really really good.

          I sense that you’re a good person with a really good heart, and that you care about her very much. Best of luck.

  7. My jaw dropped.

    LW, you can love and support your friend and still cut fiancé out of your life because he’s a creepy predator. You’re okay with her as long as she’s not forcing you to be okay with him. “I love you, I’d love to see you for dinner, but I am not okay with eating with the man who secretly filmed me” is a reasonable boundary that I think you need to take a hard line on. Warn your friends, yes, but also tell them that you know she had nothing to do with it.

    Good luck, LW. This all sucks and it’s not your fault in the least.

  8. LW, please get a therapist if you don’t have one already. Someone you love and trust has violated you and yours on many levels, that is going to be very hard to unpack and deal with. A professional who will do that with you can be super helpful.

    Also, fiance has only admitted to what you already know, since he knew he was on the cams setting them up (this isn’t his first rodeo) and he knew you had them. Don’t treat that as a confession, that was just him trying to get ahead of the story to create his own narrative for best friend. I am positive he has done worse, and not just to you.

    Also, I’m very worried that he will twist that “dream” into you trying to seduce him away from best friend. I’m not sure what to do about that – cut off all contact with him but not her so she knows you want nothing to do with the dude who touched you in the night? Not tell her about that at all but continually remind her you support her (treating the creep iceberg as a simpler Darth)? I’ve never dealt with that situation, so I don’t have a good idea what to do about it 😦

    1. Depending on the size of the pub and the amount of business it does, it might be that he’s not actually there that often, and his creepitude would be limited to hardware in place, as opposed to the possibility I mentioned above of maybe putting stuff in the comestibles…How fucked up is it that bathroom cameras are the best-case scenario here?!?

      1. If he groped the friend while asleep (which I think is very likely), then he may also be the sort of bar keep who uses Rufies.

        I would not take that risk.

        1. I agree; & given that it would be safer to grope knowing the person would not wake up, chances of nasty stuff in a drink may also have happened.


          1. Yeah, especially the part where she felt like she dreamed it, I was wondering if it was some sort of memory suppression mechanism, but drugs seem to be an obvious conclusion.

    2. Even if he’s telling the truth and he’s only ever taped the LW… that doesn’t make it better! When your friend of 10 years is either a voyeur that tapes people without your consent or so obsessed with you that they just decided you tape you without your consent, you are picking between Six-Houses-of-Bees vs Half-A-Dozen-Houses-Of-Bees.

      1. That was my thought. I think it’s likely that it is very much not just the LW that he recorded (I mean, dude is obviously malicious & deceptive), but even if it was–if someone was so obsessed with me that they recorded me and only me in the shower and on the toilet, that would be at least as terrifying, because if that’s your start point, where do you escalate?

        LW, I think you should get expert advice (RAINN, or if you’re in another country, possibly an equivalent there) and then probably contact law enforcement. It’s quite probable, I think, that this guy is recording all kinds of people (including possibly children, possibly pub patrons), but this is terrifying stuff even if it’s “just” you, and I think you would be well-served by talking to people who have some experience of this kind of thing.

        (And please don’t feel bad about not knowing how to handle this. This is so far outside the bounds of acceptable behavior that most of us would be flailing–it’s the equivalent of having taken basic defensive driving and then encountering a full-on Mad Max-style war rig on the highway: it’s that degree of out there.)

      2. I have to admit, I was thinking about that myself – I would be more scared on a personal level if it really was just “I’m obsessed with you”, but the damage could perhaps be contained. If it’s “I just do this to everyone”, then we now have a problem for society at large to deal with.

      3. If he’s recording all sorts of people, then that’s a major problem.

        If he’s recording ONLY YOU, I think it’s worth reading up on stalking, because it seems like 100% the next move if he’s really so obsessive.

        It’s not fair to you that you have to do this, but I would at least read the archives here, your local stalking-related laws, and consult experts.

        People not taking stalking seriously makes me Hulk. My sister was stalked in college. At my college, a woman was killed by her stalker in the building where I had math class.

        It hasn’t happened to me, thankfully, but I almost get more mad when things happen to my sister anyway.

        Speaking of which, imagine him recording your little sister or little cousin or another female friend you care about. Getting angry is not a bad thing.

        1. I have also been stalked (once by an exBF), and it was irritating and unpleasant even though I was 99% sure my exBF was harmless and was just cluelessly pressuring me to get “closure” (or the last word), it went on for far too long and freaked me out.

          I was also stalked, as a young teen, by a 25-year-old man who had no business bothering 13-year-old children with “romantic” gestures. That was even more terrifying, and I am still skittish around new people to this day.

          In short, the above is good advice. Take it seriously, please.

  9. I think it’s wise to talk to friend ASAP, just to suss out what she knows/doesn’t know, and because it seems important to you to at least try to salvage that friendship.

    If Boyfriend wants to go to the police, that’s his choice, as he is a victim, too. That doesn’t mean that you have to press charges on your behalf, though I recommend consulting with a lawyer, as you’ll probably be contacted as a corroborating witness to the stuff that isn’t on tape.

    You don’t owe Fiance anything. He has been doing this for who knows how long to who knows how many people, for who cares what reasons. He violated you, and then lied to you after he got caught. You owe this guy n o t h i n g. It’s hard to turn away from 9 years of apparent good stuff but… What if he was secretly taping you the whole time (and possibly molesting you in your sleep?!?!!) Because there’s a great chance that’s exactly what he’s been doing.

    I’m so sorry that this is happening to you, LW. I hope that you are able to navigate through this disaster. Take care of yourself, help your boyfriend if you have the spoons to do so, and if possible, sit down with a professional to talk through all of this.

    1. Aurora_Belle, I absolutely agree that the LW owes this guy nothing. LW puts it as having 9 years of apparently good friendship with the perpetrator but it’s really 9 years of secret violations of her trust and probably her body.

      A minor but significant nitpick, though. In the US as well as most of the countries where the word ‘pub’ is commonly used, it is NEVER the victim who presses charges, it is the state. It is not up to the victim to make that decision, the decision is made by a representative of the government, usually called a prosecutor. While there are many ways in which this is not a good situation, the one excellent reason behind it is that it puts a step between the victim and the consequences to the perpetrator. It acts to diffuse any potential anger the perpetrator may be feeling when they start to suffer the consequences of their actions.

      1. Not a lawyer, so I’m not aware of the nuances, but regardless of how the case is billed in court, cases still need a complainant to come forward with evidence of a crime, and the boyfriend sounds like he may want to be that person. The LW doesn’t have to step forward, but they are likely to have questions for her if her boyfriend does. So best course of action would be to consult with a lawyer (and preferably have them present) before answering any questions.

        In this particular case, there is significant likelihood that despite there being a legal smokescreen between the victim and the charges, the Fiance in this story will know where the evidence came from, since they confronted him and he allowed them to keep it. Though, depending on what else they find, they may find a bigger angle to come from (I.e. the vids with kids) that would add another layer of obfuscation to the source.

        This is all tangential to the LW’s question, though, so it may not be worth discussing in much more depth than this, imo.

        1. Two major bodies of law.

          For criminal law, Duly Concerned is correct. It is the State that brings charges, usually on behalf of a victim. It’s easier if the victim cooperates with the State, but not strictly necessary. (Think of a murder trial. You don’t need survivors to say that someone they love has been murdered. The State just needs evidence of the crime.) For criminal law, the defendant needs a lawyer. The lawyer working for the State is the state prosecutor.

          For civil law, Aurora Belle is correct. A plaintiff (remember it by thinking of complainer) brings charges against a defendant. Both plaintiff and defendant need lawyers to represent them. They’re generally arguing about money as when one party sues another for damages.

          Fiance appears to be guilty of a criminal violation. While LW and Boyfriend are needed to present evidence to the police, and while they might need to appear as witnesses in court, it’s really up to the State to prosecute.

          But here’s the part that might be useful for Panicked. In a criminal case, how you feel, where your loyalties lie, and to what degree you feel violated don’t matter as much– and that’s a good thing. Let me compare it to someone picking pockets. One person might have $50 picked out of their pocket and not mind too much. Maybe it’s not much money to them and they can shrug it off. Another might have worked for days for that money, and the loss of that money could mean the difference between paying the rent and being kicked out into the street. It might mean the difference between having enough to eat and not. In the eyes of the Law, the crime is the same. No one has to prove that the theft hurt them. It’s enough that the theft was committed. It’s the same here. Individual reactions to being photographed in this way, reactions to the violation of privacy, those can vary like crazy, but it’s not up to you to present in court how much you were hurt. All you have to do is go to the police with your evidence. I’m not suggesting that every police officer will treat you with the respect you deserve– that can vary greatly too– but it is in their hands.

          1. I hadn’t even thought of civil court, probably because this so clearly involves a criminal matter. Since it clearly happened recently, if there are any statutes of limitation in the LW’s jurisdiction, they probably do not reply (I’ve never heard of a statute of limitation being limited to mere days after the crime).

        2. She’ll probably get subpoena’d as a material witness, and it’s going to be clear from the tapes that she is also a victim.

    2. Agreed!
      The illusion here is that everything about this friendship setup is so gosh-darn perfect! –As long as we ignore the gross violation of privacy and trust! And that is the view point that people who take advantage of your trust want to keep with. It puts the blame on you for being over scrupulous instead of where it really should be: on them for taking advantage of the intimacies of friendship. It was NEVER a good friendship, because they were never a good friend (even if you didn’t know it at the time)

  10. No. No… I call bs on the “I only recorded you” bit. KIDS. I totally believe he recorded everyone.

    And fondled you in your sleep, too! Ugh! I’m so SO VERY ANGRY on your behalf. So many shades of gross. He needs to be reported-please help your friend understand this. How long until there’s an even greater escalation in his behavior?

    1. Sounds like he has already taken it further than recording with the LW. I don’t want to think about what he could potentially have done. Especially as the owner of a pub.

    2. If he recorded kids – even accidentally – that’s child porn. It’s serious time. Hard time.

      I would fear for my safety if I thought someone I knew thought I was going to report them for that.

  11. I think an anonymous tip to the police about the possibility of cameras at the pub might not be too out of order. I wouldn’t be very worried about blowing up friendships; dude has already done that himself, all on his own.

    1. I’m sure he ripped those cameras out of the ceiling that night. He was tipped off from the beginning. I think that evidence was destroyed already.

      1. Dammit. You’re right. He definitely has a big enough window. But hopefully enough will be left.

      2. Not necessarily. He’s thinking he’s getting away with it now.

        Criminals are stupid. Predators are stupid.

        What they need to do is to not tell him they are reporting and to do so, then let the police advise them what to do.

        As a lawyer, I’ve seen cases like this where the predator thought they were getting away with it, so admitted to the victim what they did and where all the cameras were (as a taunt). Idiot didn’t know he was being recorded and the police were in the restaurant already.

        1. Not only are criminals and predators stupid, this type of criminal has a strong drive to want to keep all their goodies. He obviously believes he can successfully control his girlfriend and that he has a good enough chance to control the LW and her boyfriend, so I doubt he’s got much in the way of motivation to rip out his camera installations.

          And YES YES YES on not warning the creeplord about going to the police. Take action and let the creeplord find out about it in due time. There are all sorts of strategic reasons to help keep this a surprise for the creeplord.

          1. “There are all sorts of strategic reasons to help keep this a surprise for the creeplord.”

            Both for OP and for the police.

        2. And Creeplord might think LW will be a good little girl and friend of 9 years and not report him. There’s a certain arrogance with goes with this sort of thing.

      3. I’m not a lawyer, so nobody quote me on any of this, but I’m pretty sure that if our LW and Boyfriend go to the police with their camera (evidence, with Fiance’s face on it) then they don’t need cameras in place at the pub. They’re gonna search his home, and his computer, and there they’ll find whatever previous recordings he’s made… if that includes places like his business, his own home, etc. then they’ll handle that appropriately. They’d also get a clearer picture of what else he’d done to LW in the past, which might be nice for their peace of mind.

        1. Lawyer here.

          Even if they find nothing this time, they are aware of who he is.

          As for getting a clearer picture, maybe.

          I’ve come to accept that I’ve likely been videotaped without my consent at some point in my life. My only hope is that it was never seen by anyone I know and never done by anyone I know.

          One of the advantages of being 48 is that I’m old enough now that most men would rather look at nonconsensual videos of younger women. It doesn’t matter if you are “Helen Mirren” hot as an older woman, you are still older.

          1. The fact of it being nonconsensual is just as thrilling for them. As with the recent news story of the older woman photographed nude in the gym by a younger one, as sport.

          2. The police knowing who he is seems particularly important given the large number of potential victims and other people he could potentially try to accuse of the crime if he’s caught in the future (I’m pretty sure the odds of him stopping this behavior of his own volition are zero). Maybe he can’t be prosecuted for anything besides the recording the LW found. Maybe that doesn’t even result in significant punishment.

            It could still lead to him being fired, or his name being published in newspapers, both of which could make life a little safer for people around him.

      4. I am worried that he might have destroyed the evidence, but I’ll bet his computer is a hotbed of fucked up shit. He probably destroyed the outward signs of the crime, but I’ll bet he still has secret back up.

      5. In my experience with this particular type of creep, he honestly believes that he’s smarter than anyone else, so very likely, he thinks that LW and Boyfriend really believe him.

    2. “anonymous tip”

      That will do zero. They cannot get a search warrant on an anonymous tip of this nature.

      It’s really, really difficult to get search warrants on anonymous tips. They generally only work for things like drug deals where there is a definitive statement that the tipper knows a crime will occur and lots of details.

      There may or may not be probable cause even if they go forward with what happened in the vacation home.

      They have to report it to the police in the jurisdiction of the vacation home or, possibly, to the FBI if they crossed state lines, etc.

      1. Not a lawyer, but I am a lawyer’s daughter. Anonymous tips are good for journalists to start digging or for ethics committees. Not so much for convincing a judge to sign that magic piece of paper.

        1. LW is probably British, so a lawyer or daughter of same might not be as useful as a solicitor. I’m neither, though.

          But in either jurisdiction, the pub is a public place, so you don’t need a warrant to wander in, ask where the bathroom is, and peek around for cameras. Boyfriend found this one, so we’re not talking “KGB bugging an Embassy” levels of concealment here, it’s probably something you could check without tearing apart the walls. LW says “pub manager,” not “owner,” so presumably there is an owner or even a head office/brewery who would likely consent to a search as well.

          That would, however, require a police officer to believe you. Just calling might not do the trick.

      2. An anonymous tip would be enough to go into the bathroom in the pub and search for cameras, because thats a public place and no warrant is required. But, as others have pointed out, speed is important here. If he’s destroying evidence, that will occur over time, and if the police look sooner, they may find more.

  12. Shit this is terrifying. I’m sorry LW, I know you don’t want to lose this friendship but this is just SO NOT a thing you can brush aside because 9 years of friendship. So, so angry for you.

  13. LW, are either of you mandated reporters? Because with kids involved, your line of action may be legally mapped out.

    1. But do they KNOW or have reason to strongly suspect there are kids involved?

      Mandated reporting usually doesn’t kick in unless you know or have very strong suspicion.

      1. Unless the pub is a kid-free zone (UK pubs aren’t, for instance; some have playground equipment in the beer garden), I’d say the suspicion was strong-ish. He’s a filmer + he runs a pub + kids go in those toilets = very worrying.

      2. They know there were cameras in a bathroom that children used. That’s… that’s enough for me personally.

        1. I think Mega Nope is addressing this not from the perspective of whether they ought to tell the cops (IMHO, yes, definitely), but from a place of what is required of a legally mandated reporter, which has certain boundaries and is stricter. There are lots of things that I would feel morally obliged to report that I am not technically legally obliged to report.

      3. In many places, it also doesn’t apply unless the abuse/neglect is discovered by a mandated reporter who is engaged in his or her professional duties (e.g. a teacher has to report if a student says his dad punched him, but does not have to report if her neighbor’s child says the same thing).

  14. I’m really sorry to read that you’ve suffered a horrible creepy incident like this. Sometimes part of coping can be to rally around others and block out the icky feelings of betrayal and shock. I hope in the next weeks and months you give yourself time to process your emotions about the way this Fiancee violated your right to privacy. You matter in this situation too.

    1. +1 There is no need to understand anything right this second, but please know that you deserve that time and also professional help, if you feel you cannot do it alone (and also if you feel fine – it’s always a good idea).

      1. Dear OP, something bad happened to me once and I recognize so much of what you say in myself – I was weirdly preoccupied with protecting HIS feelings, HIS job, HIS sense of normalcy. I think about this a lot now. He was so obviously in the wrong – I was a teenager, for God’s sake – but I couldn’t recognize that at the time. I almost made it all my fault [spoilers: it was in absolutely no way my fault]. I think maybe I wanted to feel this way partly so that I didn’t have to face the fear and violation I was feeling – if I was “saving” him, I wasn’t a victim, right? I didn’t want to be a victim! Also, as a woman I recognize that I’ve been conditioned to fix everything for everybody but myself, since my feelings obviously don’t count for anything hahahahah (that was not happy laughter). Please consider the possibility that your feelings here may be off-kilter due to extreme circumstances. You are NOT responsible for fixing him / helping him / minimizing the impact of what he did on either himself or your friend or anybody else. That is not your job and also, what I wish someone had told me was, there’s nothing noble about it. It’s helping him get away with it. That’s what he wants. I wish so much that I had spoken out at the time and made him known, because for all I know he went on to do something similar to others – but I just didn’t see it at the time. I was wrong. Go to the police. It’s their job to sort out what happened and who is responsible and what should be done about it – that is literally their job. It’s not yours. Let your sense of obligation here go. If you can’t do it for yourself, please do it for me.

  15. There are a few things everyone in this situation should keep in mind:

    1) He violated you, your boyfriend, and everyone else who used that bathroom.
    2) He violated your friends’ parents–this was THEIR HOME and he may have put them at legal or civl risk with what he did. (I would want to know if someone set up hidden cameras in my house–I’d have the place scanned for others, and I’d never allow that creeptastic asshole within 100 miles of my home again).
    3) He was willing let your friend’s father/stepfather take the fall for this.
    4) He tried to minimize it by being super creepy–“It was just you.” ORLY IS THAT SUPPOSED TO MAKE IT BETTER BECAUSE IT DOESN’T.
    5) He’s acting like this is just an etiquette faux pas. It isn’t. He knowingly violated you and your boyfriend, possibly your friend, and possibly many other people.
    6) He has known you for nine years and is okay with violating you.
    7) He has known your friend for nine years and is okay with violating her and her family and fucking her life up.

    Also: IDGAF about how sorry he is.

    Your boyfriend is right. You need to call the cops. I am not normally one to be all CALL THE POLICE RIGHT NOW in cases of abuse since it’s not easy to do that to someone you’re close with. HOWEVER. He could possibly be doing this to the patrons of his pub. How would you feel if you found out the owner of a bar you went to did this?

    Your friend is likely in shock. Be there for her, for sure. But don’t sugarcoat what her fiance did. Don’t sugarcoat how violated you feel. Don’t sugarcoat how much peril he could have put her parents in. Don’t sugarcoat any of it. His actions are not her responsibility but minimizing their affect to spare her heartache will help him in his campaign to minimize what he did and control the narrative. Fuck that and fuck him, right into the center of the sun.

    1. Sheelzebub, you are so right.

      LW, think of it this way: every time this guy has told you a joke, talked over the affairs of the world, shaken your hand, hugged you good night, given you a peck on the cheek, he also had secret footage of you on the toilet, in the shower and, for all you know, in bed when you were staying with your best friend. I believe it is likely he did fondle you in his sleep. Part of his jolly is to have all this secret intimate knowledge of you so that he can enjoy his creeptastic images and thoughts at the same times that you are interacting with him in ignorance of his creepiness.

      As for your best friend’s parents, the ONLY way they can protect their own reputation is by going to the police immediately, now that they know (they do know, right?) what has been going on. If they go to the police now, they will be regarded as victims of this creeplord. But if they wait or if your best friend holds off on telling them to avoid upsetting them, to maintain the illusion of peace in the family or whatever, and the creeplord’s actions become public, well, your best friend’s parents are highly likely to be treated as accomplices.

      Which is not unfair, if they find out about his secret video activities and do not take decisive steps to end it right now, they are accomplices after the fact and potentially accomplices to future secret videoing.

      Your best friend cannot protect them by keeping this a secret from them. Since they are her parents, the public and the police will tend to assume that whatever your best friend knew, her parents also knew. Not fair but fair is where people go to see the piglets racing.

      Copy the creeplord’s own tactics: get out in front of the story ASAP, give your best friend and her parents the information they need to do the same thing.

      1. Yeah. I keep coming back to that. If you were not actually present when your best friend’s parents were told and did not tell them yourself, assume they are still ignorant of the fact that this was going on in their house. Sadly, even your best friend might be willing to lie about that if her predator fiance fed her a sufficiently compelling line of “but you’re protecting them by keeping them ignorant!” bullshit, just as he’s been feeding you.

        And if this is or was (but again, I would assume that it is still going on, because liars lie and gaslighters gaslight and predators do not worry much about putting other people at risk) in their house, they are at real significant risk themselves. Even if you really were the only target (which I sincerely doubt), but especially if, as you suspect, he took video of kids. Even if he took video of kids accidentally rather than as deliberate child porn, which is I suspect going to be his next fallback defense if (when) he gets caught taking video of anyone and everyone. Even if he “just” wanted to stalk you. This is big time serious stuff, and he has already proved totally willing to let your best friend’s stepfather take the fall for it, until it became clear that he couldn’t get away with that because his own damn face was on the recording.

        This guy isn’t going to stop. He has consistently deflected and minimized, and now he wants you to go to a “ha ha, sure you took pictures of me in naked and vulnerable positions without my knowledge and violated my privacy in a really deep and grotesque way and quite probably also groped me in my sleep, but what’s all that between old friends” dinner? That is shameless. He is not going to stop violating people, and he is going to throw anyone convenient under the bus–hell, he already tried that!–and while I understand why ‘go to the cops’ is often the last resort, we are at last resort. This is Last Resort, next exit on your right.

    2. Yes to all of this, though if you can’t be there for her – her heart is likely breaking which means she’s going to want and need to talk about how much she loves him and how conflicted she feels, that may be something you can’t show up for – that is fine. I work in the justice system and spend my life saying: avoid it if you can, but “go straight to the cops” was also my response here. Your processing arc may involve all kinds of things, but it would be stunning if you were the only people involved, or, given his age and the boldness here, if this were his only act like this in the ballgame. I understand why making this move might be complex and not a choice you want to make. I also think it’s a very difficult calculation, the interaction between your own needs and healing and some sense of responsibility to people HE victimized that HE has a responsibility towards, and questions about what you are supposed to take on or put yourself through because of the mess he’s made are really hard and there’s no single answer. A therapist is a good idea for lots of reasons, here, that is one of them. Another is that reasons to report or not to report are tied up in lots of the ways we process this kind of violation. Exploring your hesitation with a neutral party focussed on you might be a good idea – not wanting to go to the cops when you have had your privacy and sexual integrity violated because you do not trust them to handle it in a way that doesn’t make your life WAY harder is a really good reason not to do it, for example. I also think it’s worth saying: you or boyfriend do not need each other’s permission, here, to go to the police. It’s ok if you have different reactions to this, though this happened to you together each of you experienced a really personal violation that you may well process really differently here, and that processing might be helped by very different approaches. Therapists are also likely going to be helpful for that reason, taking care of each other right now is very nice but you might have divergent needs and interests to nurse in the near future.

      I also think it’s important to assume he’s behaving like a panicky animal right now, and to view anything and everything that happens as an attempt to get you guys under control and minimize his risk. Maybe he feels deep shame and remorse, maybe he’s a cold calculated pure predator, for the purposes of keeping your space to process intact it is irrelevant because whatever else is in the mix he is concerned with managing his jeopardy and risk and that means managing you and your boyfriend. Stay away from him. Given the level of risk management he’s likely engaged in I think I would also keep a wary distance from friend. He’s going to be going tenfold with her, to keep his relationship in intact, and his attempts to control may well filter through her to you.

      I’m so sorry you’re dealing with this LW. Above all, be gentle with yourself and whatever comes up next for you. It’s a mind bogglingly difficult situation, it is not your fault, whatever you need to get through it is OK.

      1. Thing about panicky animals – the lash out in unexpected ways.

        If he’s done something truly vile, like video children (which is CHILD PORN), he’s looking at hard time. I’m sure you know how those guys fare in prison.

        OP needs to ask herself this: if he’s the type to video without consent and he’s worried about going to jail, what may he do to me?

        Going to police is necessary for self-protection.

        OP – What is preventing him from breaking in to your boyfriend’s place and trying to “steal” the tape back? What happens if your boyfriend is home?

        1. I mean, this was truly vile. And LW gets to do what LW feels is the next best thing. That might be reporting. I just think that if LW’s feeling is “I don’t want even more people to see a tape of me naked right now, that feels like the worst thing that could happen after this terrible thing” that’s legit and LW gets to act on that, and suggesting it’s dangerous or immoral or stupid is not an approach I would take or think is especially helpful.

          1. “suggesting it’s dangerous or immoral or stupid is not an approach I would take or think is especially helpful”

            I did no such thing. You are reading into this something that is not there.

            The word “If” actually has meaning, as does the phrase “ask herself.” OP may come to the conclusion that it was just her and there is no danger to anyone. That’s ok.

            What, exactly, are you taking issue with? The suggestion that it’s possible he’s done something worse, and, if so, he might be dangerous? He might also not be dangerous.

            She has every right to do whatever she wants. She just needs to be aware of all the possibilities.

            I say this as someone with experience in this area. Someone who has advised more than one victim that their decision to not report was what I would have done in their situation.

            I do not understand why you are reading in to this and assuming I think not reporting is “dangerous” or “Immoral” or “stupi”

            I said no such thing. I believe no such thing

          2. Theaz wrote: “I just think that if LW’s feeling is “I don’t want even more people to see a tape of me naked right now, that feels like the worst thing that could happen after this terrible thing” that’s legit and LW gets to act on that, and suggesting it’s dangerous or immoral or stupid is not an approach I would take or think is especially helpful.”

            Thinking strategically, the best way to limit the number of people who see naked video of the LW is to go to the police. The LW doesn’t know if the creeplord has previous video of her. She doesn’t even know for sure that the creeplord didn’t have it all set up so that the video was copied to the cloud while the cameras were running, so even if he destroys the cameras or deletes the contents right in front of her, he could so very easily already have copies.

            I think there is a very, very good chance that this guy is posting some/all of his secret videos to the internet, either for free, as the price of admission to sights that specialise in secret videos or even for money. Going to the police is the best chance to stop the spread of secret videos of the LW. Not a guaranteed stop to it but as close as the LW can reasonably get.

    3. Yep x infinity. This isn’t “I brought wine to a party full of recovering alcoholics” or “I told an off-putting joke in mixed company”. This is “I’m a sexual predator”.

      LW – I promise you, wholeheartedly, that losing your best friend of years and years (14 in my case) is survivable. If it comes down to that you will be very sad, heartbroken even, and you will grieve her the way you would grieve a death. However bad it gets, you will eventually pick up your broken pieces, and get back on an even keel. That sense of loss will fade over time.

      Jedi hugs if you need them.

      1. Yes to this, especially the second paragraph.

        I’ve also lost a best friend of many years, and it was probably the hardest breakup I’ve ever been through. LW, hopefully you won’t lose your friend — but if you do, know that it’s absolutely a real breakup and you get to grieve it as such. Be kind to yourself.

    4. Yes. To all this.
      If he’s comfortable enough to do this in another person’s home, this ain’t his first rodeo.

      When videos of children are found by the authorities, they work to identify both the child and the place the video was taken in.
      Since the house is jointly owned, both LW’s friend and their parents could go to prison over this. They could have to live out their lives as registered sex offenders.

      It’s in the Friend’s best interest for them to take the videos to the police.

  16. Re: the “Fiance said he’s only done it to me and not anyone else” and the followup of “boyfriend worries that as he’s a pub manager, he might have done it to other people”…Yeah.

    Firstly, only you isn’t a good thing – it implies he’s targeting you specifically for his voyeurism. Coupled with your maybe dream/maybe memory of being touched, that’s a whole world of not-good.

    Secondly, just because your boyfriend only saw footage of you (and him, and Fiancee), doesn’t mean that’s the only footage that exists. It might be the only footage for that camera, but all you actually know is that it’s the only footage that Fiancee showed your boyfriend. There might well be other memory cards and other cameras hidden away.

    If it were me? I’d be with Boyfriend, breaking the sound barrier in my haste to head for the police.

    1. Also, LW doesn’t say in what context he insisted it had only ever been her. LW, if he volunteered that information without you asking, he is lying. This is straight out of The Gift of Fear – people who answer questions you don’t ask when they are doing shady shit are lying. I wouldn’t trust the answer even if you did ask first because trusting people who have filmed you without your consent when you are naked and presumably alone are not people you can take at their word….but in this case, if he volunteered the information, consider that a field of waving red flags spelling out the words “NOPE I TOTALLY DID THE OPPOSITE.”

  17. This is horrifying beyond words and LW, I’m so sorry you and your boyfriend are going through this. The Captain’s advice is super solid as always. It’s pretty clear to me that your best friend’s creeplord fiancé is currently engaged in serious DAMAGE CONTROL. He has been exposed as a creepy predator so now he’s trying to make himself out to be the least creepy predator possible. That’s why he’s on insisting on controlling the narrative with your best friend. He only told her that he filmed you because he realised there was no possible way she wouldn’t find out. His story is that he’s only ever filmed you because that is the least creepy version of events and precludes any further investigation into his activities.

    I think it’s extremely important that you talk to your friend about this in private. Her fiancé is a dangerous individual who has committed at least one sexual offence that you know of, possibly more in both his personal and professional life. His word is worth nothing. I know this probably clashes with your impression of the man you’ve known for nine years, but you need to hold these things in your head going forward.

    Good luck and healing to you and your boyfriend, whatever you decide to do going forward.

    1. Him filming only the LW isn’t that non-creepy either, given that it would mean he is especially targeting her and is still trying to keep her around. But that casting of the situation does produce heavy psychological pressure on the LW: it implies that everything can go back to “normal”, with all relationships intact, and all she has to do is let him off the hook and pretend it never happened.

      This is bullshit. However hard it is to handle after being close to this guy for years, he is not a great guy with one little problem he needs to deal with quietly. He is a giant creep who is very good at acting like he isn’t, and he’s not taking responsibility for his actions at all.

      Please do not let him off the hook, LW. Even if, by some miracle*, you are the only victim so far — if he gets away with it now, there will be others. And you will have to continually swallow your discomfort with him and what he has done to you, which would be very stressful and can lead to missing other red flags.

      *probability of miracle is negligible. He’s far too calculating for this to be a one-off.

  18. This man is a predator. This man is a PREDATOR. THIS MAN ISA A PREDATOR.

    This man is not a “nice guy” who made a mistake. He knew what he was doing.

    Now that he’s caught, he’s using gas-lighting and emotional manipulation to try and get away with it.

    I can guarantee you, as a lawyer with a decade of experience representing victims of abuse in court, that the chances of this being limited to you and limited to videotaping are ZERO. There are other victims. There are other violations of consent.

    I cannot say for certain he’s “laid hands” on anyone, but odds highly likely he has or he will.

    You need to go to the police. You need to see your friend separately and warn her this is happening.

    You also need to call RAINN. They can help you navigate how to talk to your friend about what this man is doing. It may not fit the legal definition of sexual assault, but it is a consent violation.

    Keep reminding yourself of that: this is a man who knowingly violated your consent and then tried to cover it up and make YOU feel guilty about the hurt it will cause.

    Also, he’s likely NOT using these tapes for his own enjoyment. He’s likely selling them or putting them on the net for others to see.

    It will not be your fault if he continues, but, personally, I would feel like I had some power back if I were in your shoes and I reported him.

    1. Yes! I think it’s the best thing, the *only* thing to do.

      And maybe now it may seem hard to believe, but in the long run, I think it will be best for your friend too.

    2. Seconding calling your local or national rape crisis line. They’ve heard about this kind of thing before. They will have advice. They are good at what they do, and if the volunteer who answers the line isn’t helpful, you can ask to talk to a supervisor who’s been there a while and will know of something similar.

      LW, if you can, I think it would be a really good idea to reach out to your friend directly, soon. I understand if you can’t, and you don’t have to, but this guy has maneuvered the situation into a place where your friend is isolated from you “to protect her” and that doesn’t seem great.

  19. I strongly suggest that LW get law enforcement involved. For one thing, someone needs to seize the creeplord’s (love that one!) computer and other internet connectible devices to find out if he has posted any of his surreptitious video clips to the internet. There is a chance, a pretty good one in my opinion, that part of creeplord’s jolly is posting his secret video clips to any number of internet sites dedicated to posting secret video, mostly of women and children. For some such sites, there is a requirement to post a certain number of clips each month or each six months or however long in order to maintain access (they figure that law enforcement won’t post such footage). So even if creeplord really does intend to go into therapy and work hard at it, there may be a strong motivator for him to do it ‘one more time’ so he can maintain access.

    This is something that could come back to harm the victims months or years from now.

    And LW, you’re already feeling emotional fallout, I hope you are taking good care of yourself.

  20. Seconding (hell, by this point probably thousandthing) Captain’s message that you do NOT have to keep a predator’s secrets. Just… no to that. Hell no. He did it, and was ready to blame dude who wasn’t even there that weekend in order to get himself some time to come up with a better story, so fuck that guy forever.

    Also, this? “it’s also okay to involve law enforcement and let them investigate the full extent of what this dude has been up to, even if that makes your friend sad.” It’s ALSO okay to involve law enforcement, even if all they discover is that you are his only creepy obsession. Even if they find that he’s only ever put cameras on YOU, well… that’s some creepy fuckin’ information right there, isn’t it? And if they find out that he did it to loads of people, that’s just more stuff that they need to deal with, and they will. Either way… a tough call, an incredibly emotionally charged decision, but you’re essentially choosing between More Information and The Great Coverup.

    1. I kept noticing that LW had a lot of concern for the other victims, but wasn’t voicing the same amount for herself. While I think she’s doing a fantastic job of taking action right away (!!!) I want to say, she and her longtime girlfriend are not going to be able to process their feelings about the attack and being defrauded by this man, with each other. This incident is way past the pay grade of any friendship. It’s experienced therapist time.
      I haven’t used RAINN but it seems like a likely spot to get a referral.

      1. Thank you! I’ve been hoping someone else caught that.
        LW, I know you haven’t figured out how you feel about this debacle yet, but I worry that your focus on everyone ELSE’s feelings (even fiancé/creeplord’s) is getting in the way of parsing your own.

        Boyfriend is doing a good job of sorting through his feelings and deciding on his own course of action. Step back and let him do that, don’t make yourself responsible for his decisions.

        Friend is going to have to parse her feelings with someone who hasn’t been victimized by her betrayer – you can’t do that work with her, the two of you have been traumatized in different and somewhat conflicting ways.

        Fiancé/false-friend/creeplord is none of your concern at this time. It hurts, because you thought he was a friend, you loved him, you want to explain this away as a mistake so you can hold on to that affection and friendship. That instinct is hurting you right now. The cognitive dissonance (“he’s my dear friend” vs “he’s betrayed my trust really horribly”) is probably part of what’s keeping you from accessing your own feelings.

        You say you can’t talk to any of your friends for fear of spreading the fallout. Fair enough. Eventually the fallout will spread on its own, but you can feel less drawn into any subsequent drama if you weren’t a major driver. But you need to process your own feelings about this experience without cantering anyone else’s needs. A crisis line, sexual assault survivor’s line, women’s centre or therapist should be able to help you access your own emotions about what’s happened here.

  21. Eeeeeeugh this is creepy.

    As everyone is already saying, you need to undercut his control of the narrative and speak to your friend directly. It’s very hard to believe, given anything else, that he’s actually going to be honest, considering the ways he’s already trying to gaslight you about it.

    On top of that, I think you have an additional incentive to move quickly here, if you can: considering you’re referring to him as the fiance, it sounds like they’re engaged to be married but not married yet. If your friend does want to get away from him (as I hope she will, but you can’t guarantee that), it will be a lot easier to accomplish that if it doesn’t require the involvement of divorce lawyers. I think you should do your best to acquaint her with the actual facts of his behaviour and have a serious conversation about it before any marriage can take place.

    That said, I also agree with the other commenters that this ought to be a matter for the police, especially considering his occupation and that you don’t know how far this behaviour goes. If they are white, I would certainly not hesitate to get law enforcement involved, but I think it gets a lot more complicated if they are people of colour or otherwise in that subset of people police are more likely to shoot in lieu of doing their actual jobs. This is a horrible situation and your friend is already at risk, but if you think the police will only increase the danger she’s in I wouldn’t want to involve them.

    1. I am uncertain about advice that suggests that people shouldn’t call the police on sex offenders, hell potentially child-abusing sex offenders, if the creeplord in question is a POC. Weighing up the benefits vs risk of a wellness check is one thing, but LW has seen 100% proof, and has heard his confession, that Fiance has violated LW and LW’s Boyfriend, and god knows what else. This guy is a genuine sex offender who needs to be stopped. Unfortunately people who do these things do escalate, especially if they think they’re getting away with it. What are we meant to do if we can’t call the police on someone like this?

      1. Truthfully I was thinking more of the friend’s wellbeing than creep-fiance, but I take your point. I’ve just seen too much over the last couple of years to trust the police with much of anything, in all honesty (also I’m white myself so I don’t exactly have the proper background to speak with expertise on this).

      2. I really don’t want to derail too much, but there are a couple things I can respond to:

        “I am uncertain about advice that suggests that people shouldn’t call the police on sex offenders…if the creeplord in question is a POC”

        I understand your reaction! Even those of us who would like to see our current policing system dismantled acknowledge that there are moments where the police feel like the only choice. But there are many reasons a ::victim herself:: may not ever feel safe calling the police. I live in the U.S., so the following things are risks for any survivor of sexual violence:

        1. Police may further victimize the victim.
        2. Police may not believe the victim (admittedly less likely in a case w/video evidence)
        3. A victim may have her own reasons for avoiding law enforcement (does she have an arrest warrant out? does she struggle with substance abuse? is she a sex worker?)
        4. In the U.S., prosecution is in the name of the ::state:: and not the victim in criminal cases, so the victim actually loses any control over decision-making with regards to prosecution
        5. In this case, the victim would be bringing sensitive material featuring her to the police, which she may not be comfortable doing
        6. All of this becomes further complicated if the victim is a POC, which people have mentioned.

        I’m not saying that each of these points is true in the case of the LW, just that these are the ::minimum:: considerations that somebody calling law enforcement for a sexual offenses has to consider in the United States.

        “This guy is a genuine sex offender who needs to be stopped.”

        I don’t disagree. This is at the crux of the tension between public health and self-determination. We often see the argument made that victims should report to law enforcement as a service to other potential victims. Though the intentions are good, the extension of this argument inevitably blames the victim for the abuser’s behavior, so I try not to use it as a reason for a victim to report. If she wants to report for her own empowerment, then I support that decision. In fact, it would be considered bad practice in my field to tell a client to go to law enforcement, point blank. Rather, we would work with her to determine what is best ::for her:: which may not involve law enforcement. [Side note: I am also familiar with mandatory reporting with regards to child abuse, which I do support, but I don’t necessarily think that’s at play here.]

        “What are we meant to do if we can’t call the police on someone like this?”

        This is ultimately the question. There are lots of resources and communities out there exploring alternate policing methods, and sexual violence is one of the hardest transgressions to respond to. If you are somebody who employs the use of law enforcement, then you would be well justified in contacting them in a case like LW’s. If you are somebody who declines to use LE, then looking for an alternative in this case does not make you irresponsible or morally deficient.

        I’m afraid I’ve turned this comment into a treatise on policing alternatives and the tensions at play when reporting sexual crimes in the U.S.. I hope I didn’t come across as preachy; I’m just trying to share my experience as somebody who has worked with both survivors and law enforcement around sexual offenses. There are just a lot of factors at play.

        1. This is all super important information, but just as a point of clarification ladybear was talking about whether or not the *perpetrator* was POC, not the victim. Victims have to weigh enough considerations related to whether to report, as you note, and taking on the burdens of our justice system and its dealing with men of color shouldn’t be added to their shoulders.

        2. I definitely agree with you, from a victim’s perspective there are a lot of reasons not to bring in law enforcement. I was trying to isolate the perpetrator’s race as a factor in the decision, because that really jumped out at me from mcbender’s comment. All other things being equal, when the victim is certain in their mind that the person has done something like this, and they are prepared to roll the dice on how the police will treat them (perhaps for the sake of future victims, which gives a lot of people strength and purpose but I agree can also be inappropriately pressurising) how much pause should a person have about reporting a crime for the specific reason that the person they’re reporting is a POC?

          It strikes me as another burden on a victim. Fiance already wants LW and Boyfriend to help him feel safe, and we’d all agree that is gross and they have no obligation to lift a finger for Fiance’s feelings. I just found myself reacting to the idea that a person in LW’s position might be expected to sacrifice their right to justice because of a risk to the perpetrator’s safety, or the idea that they should spend the emotional energy worrying about the perpetrator’s safety. But that is the gateway to a massive derail, and I don’t think we can solve it here.

          LW, sorry to hijack your thread. The reason what Fiance did was wrong was because he bypassed your agency, it is 10000% up to you what you do going forward. Not doing anything is a valid option. Boyfriend was also a victim and has the same right to choose his response. I don’t think there is way for this to go where Friend is protected from upset and heartbreak. My bet’s that Friend’s heart is already broken. I think your heart is also broken, for the friend you thought Fiance was. That person doesn’t exist anymore, or you learned he never existed, and I can imagine that feels almost like a sudden bereavement. My advice would be not to let your desire to smooth things over, your desire for this not to be happening, to give Fiance the opportunity to manipulate you, as he is clearly trying to do with this dinner. Fiance is not the friend you thought he was, he is a manipulator and violator who is wearing that person’s face.

          1. And after all that I have finally zeroed in on the fact that the original concern was for a POC reporting a crime as a *victim*, not whether to report a POC perpetrator. D’oh!

            I still say though that “how much do I disrupt the perpetrator’s life if I report” should not be a burden for a victim to bear. Certainly relationship fallout for a sex offender should not be a victim’s problem. An open, public system of criminal justice is the only kind worth having, and it brings with it the punishment of people knowing what you did and judging you for it.

          2. Yeah. The inequities between the way that law enforcement treats people are a very real, and very serious issue, but I don’t think that’s the LW’s problem, to be honest. We as a society need to deal with those issues, but I think “but your stalker/abuser is [category], so you probably shouldn’t call the cops” is putting a deeply unfair burden on the victim.

    2. While I agree that the criminal justice system is deeply unfair and frequently punishes POC more harshly for the same crimes, I strongly disagree that this situation is a lot more complicated if the fiance is a man of color. This is a serious crime – addressing the violation of what are likely dozens of people by now (and the victimization of future victims!) takes precedence.

      1. Seeing that you’re talking out of concern for the friend more than the fiancé. I do get what you’re saying a little better now, but I still feel like this is a situation where barring significant and specific concerns about the local police, getting the authorities involved is something the LW should not do if their friend is a WOC.

        1. Sorry, but that argument holds no water. If you were going to use the friend being a WOC as a factor in whether to call the cops, it would be a factor for calling them – not against.

          If they don’t call the cops, what happens next? When the fiance becomes the husband and abuses the friend and being a WOC makes it harder for her to get away, what happens then? When the abuser finally does get caught and the friend is on trial as an accomplice, and being a WOC makes the government more likely to prosecute and the jury more likely to convict – what happens then?

          This situation will not go away. It will escalate. With every escalation, any unfairness that the friend receives for being a WOC gets bigger and bigger, and the consequences get worse and worse.

          1. Rereading my comment, I realize I may have missed a negative. Oops – sorry! I agree completely for all the reasons you gave, though.

    3. MMM I am actually okay with the risk of a child predator getting georgezimmermanned.

      For less serious crimes, yes definitely slow down and think. Don’t risk someone getting shot over, like, a broken taillight (to use the horrifically common example).

      This is not a broken taillight.

  22. I was a close part of a friend group while a creeper operated with “plausible deniability” for over a decade. I stayed in that friend group after Creeper “accidentally” followed a teenage girl into the bathroom where he groped and terrorized her until someone walked in to find him assaulting her while she cried.

    I stayed because I loved my friends, because they were family to me. So I swallowed Creeper’s story about how he was drunk, and regretful, and thought Teenage Girl was into it.
    (and maybe she was who can really know I’m a feminist so you can’t call me out on my vauge victim blaming because that’s reverse sexism the rest of the group has such a sad over all this lets just move on)

    Creeper used the cover of my tacit approval to escalate his creeping on a friend. That friend called after being raped and told me they couldn’t bear a ‘he said, she said’ trial of public opinion, but had decided to tell me so someone would know.
    Except I already knew.

    I allowed people to be raped to preserve my friendships. It’s a very uncomfortable thing to know about myself, and it should be.

    Every one likes to think they’d be the hero in that situation, that it’s clear cut.
    Good vs Evil.
    Right vs Wrong.

    But often it’s
    Person I Think of as Good Did an Evil Thing and it’s Going to Hurt Everyone I Love if People Know
    People Will Get Hurt if They Do the Evil Thing Again but Maybe They Won’t They Seem Really Sorry

    1. Esprit – That sounds so much like Penn State ignoring Jerry Sandusky. There were soooo many red flags. How many people does this creeplord have to violate before someone stops him? The fact the OP thinks there may have been physical abuse while she was asleep makes it that much worse. This man is a predator.

      I definitely recommend going to a therapist as well as the police. Hate to say, but if it was me I would also be looking to get a concealed carry permit.

      1. It is like Penn State. And the sibling-assaulting Duggar son.
        It is depressingly, heart-breakingly common.

        I didn’t go to the police because neither victim in the two cases I had direct knowledge of wanted that, and they were old enough to make that decision.

        What I did do was withdraw my presence and social support. Which is the minimum to be Neutral Bystander rather than Evil Accomplice.

        If someone asks about Creeper I’m blunt about being creeped out by him and refuse to be drawn into arguments asking me to justify that. If someone starts talking to me about Creeper Friend Group because of my former association, I make a neutral mouth noise and leave the conversation.
        It is literally the least I can do.

        A victim is justified in not wanting to prosecute or even talk about it. I don’t think they are justified in preventing another victim from prosecuting.
        In LW’s case, one of the victims does want to prosecute (LW’s boyfriend), one isn’t sure (LW), one may not know about the crime (LW’s friend), two definitely don’t know about the crime (friend’s parents).

        Since Creeper Fiancé still has one recording and a willingness to throw Friend’s Stepfather under the bus, he may be convincing Friend that her Stepfather did it, or editing the video to look like LW and Boyfriend did it.
        In a since the crime against everyone known to be involved is potentially ongoing.
        Which is a very good reason to go to a lawyer at least. So LW’s evidence and story can be documented in case Fiancé does something against them.

  23. It may not be a good idea to go to that “dinner” with him. And if you do, be very careful that he doesn’t put something in your food or drink.

    1. ^^^ This!! Definitely do not go to that dinner! It’s a classic abusive manipulation technique to try to normalize something horrific by forcing a hangout and reconciliation before the victims of abuse have had time to fully process what has happened to them. DO NOT GO.

      1. I mean this is what has been happening up until this point, isn’t it? OP, OP’s boyfriend and best friend are all unsure and confused and weirded out but no one has had time to make up their mind about how they feel. Instead they have been in close quarters with creep already jumping to fix it all and make sure everyone is thinking about how much they like(d) him.

        Going to this dinner will draw you further into his bullshit story, OP. Even if you are unsure about how you want to proceed, how you feel even, you deserve to think about this in peace.

      2. Yeah, my experience with this kind of behavior was far less horrifying but when my emotionally manipulative sociopath of a boss got fired (for embezzlement, which is when everyone started to connect the dots on all the “nice” things he did for us that were really him covering his tracks), he tried for about a week afterward to try to call me and “talk” and I just couldn’t. I knew from talking to my coworkers who did talk to him that what he was after was to falsely “apologize” and get a knee jerk “it’s okay” and …it really wasn’t. He put my job in jeopardy and kicked off 18 months of professional hell for me while I both had to deal with the aftereffects of his mess and my employer trying to hide it from the public, while trying to get a new job. Years later, I’m still not sorry that I never talked to him again.

        And my situation is just a tiny gram of awful compared to this level of a violation.

      3. Yep, cancel that dinner and cancel it NOW! You do not need to give him a reason why. Contact your friend separately to talk, but, as of this moment, you and your boyfriend need ZERO direct contact with this creeper.

      4. Also, it’s possible that Fiancée is trying to set up future manipulation with the dinner invite. Say you decide to go to the police, or even just decide you can’t be around him. Then he turns to Best Friend and goes “If LW was really upset at the time, why did she come to dinner right after? Clearly she’s just pretending to be upset now because she’s jealous of our love/she wants money/insert other manipulative triangulation”.

        There’s this messed up victim-blamey narrative in our culture that people who have been violated or abused should be so afraid of their abuser that they cannot possibly be in a room and act even remotely normal around them. Fiancée may be trying to exploit that.

  24. Oh my goodness, LW, what a nightmare. It’s so creepy it coul be an episode of “Law & Order”. I’m freaking out for you.

    I think 4 people should be going to the police together: you, your boyfriend, your best friend and her mom. They’re not in the tapes you guys have at the moment (SO GLAD that your boyfriend has them!!), but they were recorded in their house without their knowledge. Try to reach out to your best friend and her mom. If they don’t want to come to the police with you, it’s their choice, but you need to go.

    LW, this isn’t something midly annoying that can be taken care of immediately like fiancé staring at your cleavage when you’re all out on a double date. This is super creepy and mean and vastly premeditated. He had to buy these cameras and set them up in her fiancée’s house and collect the tapes and he watched me goodness know how many times…

    I wish you and your boyfriend all the best. Good luck.

    1. Can’t edit but I’ll correct here: “He had to buy these cameras and set them up in HIS fiancée’s house and collect the tapes and he watched THEM goodness knows how many times…”

  25. I think you need to reach out to your friend immediately I would invite her over, invite her to come stay, or at the very least get just her to dinner or coffee a nice long hang out with you. This does not need to be the COFFEE OF CONFRONTATION. It needs to be the coffee of friends supporting each other through something bad. You need to let her know that HIS actions don’t change how you feel about her. She needs to know that she can come sleep on your couch or hide. Please, make sure she knows unequivocally that you are still her friend and you care about her. (Because if she feels like people are not there for her, she might only cleave tighter to her partner who is so worried about her feeeeelings.)

    And I would show her the tapes, tell her what happened. Tell her you should have told her sooner but wanted the whole story before you said anything. Tell her you are here to be her friend and that nothing changed between you but what her fiance has done cannot be forgiven so easily.

    I would also not have any further contact with her fiance.

    It may be a good idea, if you know a lawyer in your town, to get some advice on how to proceed. As soon as the law gets involved things can get a little weird.

    I think you should not worry too much about saving your friendship, as much as saving your friend. Her fiance has betrayed everyone’s trust. There is no going back to all being friends and vacations together and stuff. That time is over, because you will never feel safe with him again. So don’t worry about everyone getting along and letting things go back to normal. He broke it, normal is gone, what is next is making sure that things don’t get any worse for the people who have been victimized by her fiance, and that she doesn’t suffer for his behavior.

    1. I think you should not worry too much about saving your friendship, as much as saving your friend. Her fiance has betrayed everyone’s trust.

      Yes, this. I’d advise taking care first of yourself (very important) and then your boyfriend and your best friend. But “the friendship” or “the relationship” isn’t an entity with feelings, it’s a thing people do, and it is important because they are important. Your best friend is important to you as a person, not in order to fill a slot labeled “best friend.”

      1. “It is a thing people do, and it is important because they are important.”

        Side note to everything, but I love this phrase and will remember it in the future.

      2. I’ve noticed the abscence of recognition of the friendship in this.

        It’s broken now. You are in a really clear cut position where criminal behaviour has happened, against you, your boyfriend & by default, your best friend.

        Her fiancé has betrayed her & her family & violated at least you & your boyfriend. There’s no redemption here. If she can’t see the criminality, the friendship is lost. Will you ever trust her again? It’s going to hurt like hell, but knowing someone you love is in bed with a predator does too. Forgiveness just doesn’t extend that far for me.

          1. Yes, definitely groomed, but will not be safe to be around if the creepy fiancé remains in the picture. Also, an excellent therapist is needed here to sort out all the slime trails this guy has spread out for all involved.

  26. Oh my gods. LW, I am SO SORRY that your friend’s fiancé has done this to you, and your boyfriend, and who knows how many other people. I’m so sorry he’s trying to place the burden of guilt and not upsetting your friend on your shoulders. This is a horrible situation, and even though I don’t have advice beyond what the good Captain gave, an internet stranger has your back. I’m sorry he did this to you. Jedi hugs if you want them.

  27. LW, I was very alarmed reading your letter. I am so glad that you have a partner who is supportive right now, and I hope you do what you need to do to take care of yourself, even in little ways, over the coming weeks.

    I don’t think I can give you advice about actions, per se, that haven’t already been covered, but I thought I would reiterate some things I have found to be true when working with survivors of interpersonal violence (and this is absolutely IPV).

    1. People who hurt us can be loving, kind, genuine, authentic people. It doesn’t excuse their behavior.

    2. When people hurt us, we don’t automatically start seeing them as monsters; we still know them as we knew them before, over the past (in this case) decade or so.

    I think what is hardest here is reconciling this truth: A person you cared about, connected with, and enjoyed is willing to use his power to hurt people for his own entertainment. That is a big disruption to your worldview, so be gentle with yourself, especially if you find yourself struggling with conflicting emotions.

    There are so many ways you can move forward, and nobody here can tell you exactly what is right for you. I would like to suggest, though, that it is possible to have your own rigid a boundary with this fiance and STILL be there for your best friend. It can be painful and tricky, but you can withdraw from your relationship with this abuser while still being supportive of your friend. (Ex. script: “[Friend], I’m sure you’ll understand if I can’t be around [fiance]. I will always be there for you, and I hope we can still do [weekly coffee/some regular activity where it’s just you and friend], but it’s not going to be possible for me to continue to be friends with [fiance] after what they did.”)

    There are a lot of “what to do when somebody discloses to you” resources that you may, unfortunately, find useful in the coming years, as abusive behavior is unlikely to stop and very likely to escalate if not checked.

    This is an awful, disorienting experience. I hope you are finding solace in your healthy relationships, and I am very sorry that this happened to you. I’m wishing you the best and holding you in my heart!

    1. This is a really good point. LW, it takes time to reconcile the idea that someone you thought was a good person and cared about deeply as a friend can be capable of monstrous behavior.

      A couple of years ago, a person my partner and I considered to be a really close friend began physically abusing his wife (an even closer friend). We did some grieving for the friendship because you do miss the person you thought he was. Even still, I’m occasionally stunned that it took me such a long time to see it. I guess it’s a marker of just how good some people can be at hiding aspects of themselves from others.

      To echo what Typhoid Mary says, give yourself time to process this, and be kind to yourself.

      1. Probably also give your friend some time (and maybe distance) to process this, and don’t feel pressured to process together.

  28. “1. People who hurt us can be loving, kind, genuine, authentic people. It doesn’t excuse their behavior”

    This 1000000%

    First, good people do bad things.

    Second, we want to divide the world into “good people” and “bad people” instead of “good actions” and “bad actions.”

    If rapists and child abusers went around acting like rapists and child abusers all the time, we’d have no issues convicting them. They don’t.

  29. I understand when you want to give people you (think you) know the benefit of the doubt, and I am 100% for forgiveness and the ability to change, but even ignoring the skin-crawling blechness of what he’s done, he didn’t fess up – he was caught. In my experience, a person doesn’t change when they’re caught and feel pressured by society’s gaze. They change when they, personally, want to. I was incredibly grateful when my husband told me about his pornography addiction in the context of “I want to change and I need help”, because my marriage would have been dealt a much worse blow by my finding out about it from any other source but him. That is not what happened here. He violated you two (and very likely others), he got caught, and now he’s doing damage control.

    And on the side of coping, you are not in charge of making him feel better about himself. It is not the victim’s job, in any interaction, to soothe the perpetrator. Last year I was dealing with my own demons of sexual abuse by my brother (when we were both much younger) and when he tried to make himself feel better by talking to me (while drunk and denying that it had messed him up, too) I told him he needed to leave me alone for a while. I love him, and I want him to heal just as much as I want to heal, but it is not my job to make him feel better about what he did. And it is exactly the same here. You are not responsible for normalizing the hurt this man caused you. He needs to confront his messed-up behavior and deal with it with someone else (namely, a licensed professional and possibly the police).

    (As an aside, my brother did back off and did let me initiate contact for as long as I needed, because, as the good Captain has said many times, that’s what decent people do when you set boundaries.)

    1. +1 to all of this. He’s doing what abusers do when they get caught, not what they do when they are remorseful and trying to change.

      At some point you’re likely to feel icky that you ever bought into his denials for a minute. The cops may ask why it’s taken you a few days to come to them. That’s okay, that’s normal. This guy twists reality in ways that most people aren’t used to, and it takes a bit to see through it. It doesn’t make you stupid or bad, it makes you a normal, decent person who doesn’t think the way he does.

  30. Dear LW:

    Nthing the calls to avoid the dinner, and see your friend alone.

    I’d add one more thought. It’s ok to mourn the friendship you thought you had with Fiancé. Fiancé isn’t really the person you thought you knew. That’s rough.

    Also, listen to the Captain.

  31. Oh,jJust tell the police now and let the chips fall where they may. The man is a predator, your friend isn’t safe.

  32. I agree with all of the above for so many reasons- report it. There is no way that this is only the beginning.
    Which makes me wonder about the best friend. Has she noticed anything before, maybe something she’s just brushed off? Somehow, I bet that things aren’t perfect behind closed doors if fiancé is doing this, and she may have picked up on it but isn’t sure what to do. Maybe you being strong and standing up for yourself can be a good model for her. Having been in not so hot relationships, I know that sometimes you need someone to show you reality before you are ready to get out of a bad situation. I’m not saying it will be easy for you, for your best friend, or your friendship. But you need to take care of yourself and your security first, and it could have the added benefit of helping her out. Be strong and safe LW.

  33. I heard the Law and Order theme song in my head when I read that and the voice over “In the criminal justice system, sex based crimes are considered especially heinous.” If you feel like maybe it wasn’t that bad, I, a random internet stranger am here to say it was that bad.

    I would be very nervous, particularly since we don’t know what he does with the footage he gets. Does he use it for ~personal use~ (gross) or does he post it online (ACK)? It might be worth talking to a lawyer if you’re nervous about going to the cops, because lawyers may have some really practical solid advice that’s out of the lovely Captain Awkward’s experience. This is way way beyond most people’s experience, but maybe a lawyer would be good to have in your corner.

    You don’t have to prosecute, if YOU don’t want to, and you’re not obligated to go forward with this. However, the deciding factor in going to the cops is NOT how your best friend’s fiancé feels about being caught for his crimes. He’ll feel terrible, I’m sure, but he didn’t feel terrible enough to stop filming people’s genitalia without their consent. Your best friend might feel upset that her partner’s facing repercussions of his behavior, but that’s not on you. It’s him.

  34. I love fiancé as a friend

    LW, you loved the person you thought you knew. Do you really wish to be friends with a man who filmed you in the bathroom and who quite probably touched you while you were asleep? Who not only admits to having done this before, but frames it as ‘he can’t help himself’ (he’ll seek help, he’s so sorry) which gives him an easy out in case he ever again accidentally buys a camera and installs it in a bathroom.

    If I introduced you to Bob at a party, saying ‘he films people in the bathroom, but otherwise he’s a real nice guy’, would you want to meet Bob for Dinner? Would you even want to stay at my party? When someone reveals they’re not the person you thought they were – particularly if this involves breaking trust and breaking laws – you get to re-evaluate whether you want to know that newly-revealed person. So, would you like to go out and be friends with Bob? I promise you, he’s real funny, and warm, and supportive, and he’ll totally not be creepy when he touches you while you’re asleep.

    Talk to your friend’s mom. *She* needs to know, and so does her partner who was framed for this. They need to know so that *they* can protect themselves against a predator. You’ve known your friend for such a long time, you know her mom: do her a favour and tell her directly. Now.

    I think you should take your friend out – a long way away from his pub or any place he might frequent, go find a tea house or ice-cream parlour you’ve never been to before – but I’d be wary of meeting with him. There’s nothing he can do right now to undo the harm he’s done, and by moving on quickly what you is enabling him: if people can be upset for a day and then forgive, it wasn’t so bad.

    *You* didn’t make it awkward. He did. And he can feel the whole weight of every crumb of awkward that he loaded upon himself by installing multiple cameras in your quarters, because that’s the very least he should feel. (Personally, I’d go to the police because of the danger to others.)

    1. You are so right about making sure friend’s parents know about this. They too are victims (secondary victims, or maybe even primary victims if he had cameras up to film them) and they deserve the knowledge they need to protect themselves.

  35. This was done to me and I can say: Call the cops. Have him arrested. Tell. You will regret it if you don’t.

    My father cut a peephole in our bathroom and watched people. After discovery, due to embarassment of other family members, I was told never to tell. And, aside from a few people, I never did.

    I was recently talking to one of the friends I had told and shared my fears that there was tape of me and that it was on the internet. They shared that they had the same fears.

    My father also tried to groom me when I was a pre-teen. Again, I was told never to tell. And I didn’t.

    Now, I wonder what he did to my other friends, nieces, and nephews. I am so angry at myself for not telling and allowing him to continue his damage.

    I am now preparing to tell the family members that just had a baby what he did. And to never take the child around him. I pray they listen.

    Again, I will say: It is hard. So hard. You will be shamed and treated like you did something wrong by some. But call the cops. Tell. Save someone else from this predator. Also, this gives other victims the courage to come forward.

    Call the cops. Please. And tell. Please tell.

    1. I’m so, so sorry that happened to you. That’s horrible. ❤

      I did want to say, because I've got a friend who's wrestling with similar guilt, that YOU are not the one who caused him to do those things to other people. He CHOSE to do those things. Your anger at yourself is absolutely valid, as is my friend's for not telling on her abuser, but I wanted to be sure to tell you that the fault is with him for hurting people, not you. I hope you're taking steps to heal, and I wish you luck with the family you plan on telling.

    2. I’m so sorry he hurt you. It was not your fault you didn’t tell.
      It’s very cold comfort, but there’s an excellent chance that as a pre-teen or teenager you wouldn’t have been believed without your family’s support.

      1. Ice & Indigo – Thank you so much!

        somethingfierceinside – Thank you so much! It is so important to let people know they are not the problem. Even though I know it’s his choice & fault, I still need to hear this! Especially about the anger in not telling & wondering about my friends, which are new things this past year. I don’t know how, but they never occured to me (maybe because there was so much other awfulness going on at the time?). So, it’s re-opened the wound. If I can’t find healing soon, I am going to see a therapist. And thank you, I hope they are open to what I have to say.

        espritdecorps – Thank you so much! Again, I need to hear this. I don’t think I would have been believed. He was very handsome and charming at the time. And people just don’t want to believe that someone they know could do something so horrible.

        Again, thank you all for your kindness and support, it means a lot. ❤

    3. AlmstHvn, I am so sorry you went through that. And that you are angry at yourself for not telling because that is 100000000000% not your fault.

      I was molested and raped by a school guidance counsellor when I was 12 years old. I finally went into therapy 3 years ago (I’m 60 now) to help me deal with it. It wasn’t until I was actually saying things out loud (or more accurately, sobbing things out loud) to my therapist that I fully recognised just how well he had programmed me leading up to the rape. For one simple example, when I started having to go to his office 2x a week (grades dropped due to my mother’s serious illness) and he was giving me what I thought of as legitimate tutoring, if I turned to look at him when he was going over, say, math problems with me, he’d tap my paper and tell me to keep my eyes on the page.

      When things started to get uncomfortable and then icky and then the act of rape, I responded by staring at the paper on the table in front of me. Exactly the way he had directed me to do a couple months before. Some part of me was desperately scrambling for some correct response that would turn off the awkward, then uncomfortable, then icky and then sheer terror as he molested me and finally raped me. Staring at the paper had worked to get his approval before, so some subconscious part of me was trying to appease him out of what he was doing to me.

      What is weird is that I have a strictly amateur’s interest in brain development but it took my therapist pointing out to me that children are relatively easy to program due to their lack of experience, power and their not fully developed brains. I knew that in the abstract but had never applied it to myself.

      Like you, it never occurred to me that my rapist might be doing the same thing to other girls in my school. He told me that I was making him do it and I fully believed him. It wasn’t until I saw news of his arrest in another school district for fondling a 12 year old girl that I suddenly realised “OMG, he did it to someone else.”

      If one of your nieces or nephews told you that your father had molested them as well and they felt overwhelming guilt about not telling anyone the instant it happened, you would absolve them. You would see clearly that it was not their fault and that they were doing the best they could to survive, given their age, immature brain (in the descriptive sense rather than the pejorative), limited life experience, knowledge and the inherent power differential.

      I hope you can absolve yourself for all the same reasons. Jedi hugs offered, if they are welcome.

      1. Yes, all of this.

        And it is not just children who struggle to extricate themselves from abusive situations. I have DID, which differs for everyone, but in my case means that I have alters of me at different ages. My dad was very authoritarian and programmed us to do what we were told without thinking first. This still makes me very vulnerable to authority figures.

        It would break people’s hearts if I told you how many authority figures have discovered this from me (I don’t tell lies), and then used it against me for their own creepy power games. And how many ‘safeguarding’ representatives have then stepped in to safeguard the people doing it, because I am not regarded as a credible witness.

        Needless to say I don’t go out much any more.

        All of which is just to agree; if anyone was abused as a child and did not tell, that is 100% on the abuser.

      2. I am so sorry this happened to you. Something similar, but not at all as bad, happened to me. In my case, the programming was that children should be nice and polite, not say no to hugs, not talk back at elders, and not make other people unhappy.

        When I was about 11 and the hugs became fondling, I had no way of handling it other than avoiding the person – and that only when there weren’t other adults around. Because when others were around, I had to be nice and polite and that included accepting hugs from my molester. Also, other people would be unhappy if I said anything. So I didn’t.

        It wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t your fault either, or AlmostHvn’s, or the LW’s, or the LW’s best friend’s. It was the fault of the creeps who creeped on us.

    4. Please don’t be angry with yourself. You aren’t the reason he hurt others. He is. Your shitty, enabling, criminal-hiding family is. You were a kid and a victim, and I’m so sorry that it happened to you.

    5. Please don’t be angry with yourself. You were a child at the time. He was the adult and he was the one committing the crimes. You were not responsible for his behaviour.
      My situation was much the same, molested by my father over a period of years starting at about age 12. When I finally worked up the nerve to tell my family, with my therapist’s help, some were angry at me for not telling sooner. But not seemingly angry at him, apparently. He was handled with kid gloves.

    6. My SIL once contacted me out of the blue (we didn’t have a relationship) and asked if my dad had ever been ‘funny’ around me. I had warned her when her first was born that my dad shouldn’t be left alone with a child; obvious, since he was unexpectedly violent without reason and always went for the smallest person in the room, the bastard. I told her yes, because yes. He’d molested me as a child, was skeevy with my sister. By then I’d gone NC, since I couldn’t keep him out of my lingerie drawer during visits. Naturally, no one in the family ever spoke to me again, and all the children had vacations alone with dear old dad. Several broken bones and sudden personality changes later — I’m still a lying bitch. But at least he’s dead, and the great-grandchildren are sort of safe. His grandson is carrying on the ‘stealing lingerie’ skeeviness.

      1. Holy shit, that’s terrible. I’m sorry that your family was more interested in denial than protecting their kids and standing by you.

  36. LW, I am so, so sorry. This is a horrific thing to have happen. Please talk to your best friend alone. Whether you decide to involve law enforcement or not, stick to your guns. What this guy did is awful. CA’s advice is spot-on. I can’t imagine what it’s like to find out that someone you loved and trusted is a sexual predator, how much that must mess with your head and make you question how well you really know anyone. Please don’t keep this monster’s secrets for him and do what you can to protect others.

  37. I don’t have anything to add to all this big stuff but I do have a strange side question. No judgement or snark here but I am curious as to why “Boyfriend decided to go to speak privately to fiancé about what to do” and not “boyfriend went directly to friend or friend and fiance”. If I understand correctly it was your friends mothers’ house and not fiances’ parents house. This strikes me as odd but I don’t know the people etc involved.

    1. I had the same question! I also noticed that the LW’s boyfriend was debating whether to tell her it was the fiancé given their friendship.

      I think the LW and boyfriend are going to have to commit to being really honest with each other to get through this, and with the friend if that relationship can be salvaged. No more trying to protect anyone from things they absolutely need to know.

      And right now, that means friend’s mom most of all.

      1. That’s a good point. Not only that LW and Boyfriend need to talk about their expectations of honesty/openness going forward, but also that Friend’s Mum and Step-Dad deserve to be told too, since the crime happened in their house, they may have been victims of it too, and Step-Dad was originally being blamed for it.

    2. This is a question I can actually answer! The reason my boyfriend went to speak to fiancé about it, is that when we discovered the cameras boyfriend believed they were targeting him, not me (he had this theory based on the way the cameras had been placed/angled). Our first thought was that perhaps Jack had a secret liking for younger men and in that case fiancé may have been a previous target or may have noticed odd behaviour from Jack over the years. We also didn’t want to upset my best friend until we were sure of what was going on.

  38. The minute this guy set his cameras up, the LW stopped owing him anything. She (I’m assuming the LW is a she—apologies if this isn’t correct) needs to talk to her friend and let her know what’s going on, pronto and go to the police. She also needs to prepare to be met with denial, blame, and other forms of lashing out. Her best friend has invested nine years into this relationship, and is unlikely to want to give it up without a fight.

    LW, be there for your friend as best you can, but don’t forget that you cannot control her actions or shield her from the fallout once she finds out about this—and she definitely will. You can’t make her kick this guy to the curb and once word gets out about his voyeurism (if that is indeed the extent of it), your friend may well find herself ostracized, if she chooses to stand by him. I hope she doesn’t—though leaving him won’t be an easy road either (I see lots of therapy in her future)—but the truth is that you may end up in the worst case scenario of losing your best friend and that’s going to hurt a hell of a lot. It is still worth it to excise this guy from your life.

    The unfortunate truth is that your friend is going to be hurt in some fashion because of her fiancé’s actions and the amount of hurt she feels isn’t going to lessen the longer you leave it or by only giving her the information gradually. You can certainly try to be sensitive in how you phrase it, but she needs to hear the full, unadulterated truth as soon as possible so that she can make an informed decision about what to do (which will hopefully be leaving him).

  39. If you have a contact for your friend’s mother I would speak to her directly, don’t expect your friend to do it, or wait for her ‘permission’. There’s then immediately less room for the fiance to manipulate your friend/her parents. You’ll also then – hopefully – have the force of another injured party to a) go to the cops and b) help your friend through this.

    Remember, this isn’t your fault. Best of luck.

    1. Agreed. And, sadly, even if you trust your best friend 110% and she says that she did tell them, I would still do this myself, were I you. She is living with a gaslighting predator who has already tried at least once to use the “don’t tell X, they’re happier being ignorant” line. If he has not used that on her to control who she talks to, I would be very, very surprised.

    2. Yes, it is important to get ahead of this before the fiance is out sharing his alternative facts about how you overreacted to something thought were cameras and were actually just air fresheners.

  40. Oh gosh, Panicked.

    Your tone here reminds me vividly of me in the aftermath of when I was sexually assaulted. I was so keen to see it from his point of view, meet up to talk about it and work towards moving forwards. It’s because you’re a kind person and right now your shock and affection for fiance are blaring.

    In a few weeks, or a few months, your shock and affection will abate, and you will be angry. Don’t make things difficult for your future self by rushing to restore this friendship.

    Similarly I was reluctant to report my attacker to the police because, hell yes I knew it was a sex attack and I was emotionally destroyed by it, but just like you, I tried to take it in stride, and my first reason for reporting him was “What if he does it to someone else?” Not “He did it to me and I deserve better.” What fiance did was illegal and the law is there to protect everyone including you. You don’t need to shrink away and think “It’s not a big deal because it only happened to little old me and I’ll make it work some how.”

    You don’t need to make it work, this is 100% fiance’s problem. I wish you all the best.

  41. If I were you, I would:

    1. Let Boyfriend go to the police. You’re right, he has the right to, and he’s probably correct that this giy is a serial offender. I mean, if you’re going to start a life of voyeuristic cameras, someone else’s house is not likely to be your nursery slope. I’d say Fiance is pretty deep in.

    2. THEN talk to your friend to see if she’s okay.

    In that order. Because if you talk to your friend before you go to the police, here are the likely outcomes:

    1. She begs you not to go to the police. You don’t go. This stays on your conscience and potentially ruins the friendship – after all, your legitimate anger and horror towards Fiance are not going to evaporate.

    2. She begs you to not go to the police. You go. She is now hurt with you, not only because you went to the police but because you disregarded her begging.

    3. She agrees whole-heartedly you can go to the police. Creepy fiance will blame her, and that doesn’t sound so safe for her. He may be angry with you either way, but you can at least limit his number of targets. (It’s possible, for instance, that he shared footage of some people but not of her because she’s a special category in his mind – or will be until she ‘betrays’ him. Revenge porn is a thing.)

    4. She agrees half-heartedly you can go to the police. She always blames you for pressuring her into that decision.

    Seriously, if you’re going to the police, there’s no point involving her in that decision. Go the Machiavelli route: if you’re doing to do something drastic, do it all at once and get it over with.

    And above all: DO NOT GIVE HER A CHANCE TO WARN HIM. If the first he hears about the police getting involved is the police at his door, his options are limited. If he hears it from her first, that’s a lot of time to make back-up copies and hide them online, destroy evidence, and post stuff he was sitting on.

    Call the police, then call her and say, ‘Sweetheart, we had to do it, but we love you and want you to be okay.’

    Maybe she’ll be in a place to accept that, maybe not. But if she isn’t, the mess would only be worse if you’d talked to her beforehand.

    1. LW can (and I think should) talk with friend along the lines of “are you OK? I’m here for you” without bringing up “boyfriend and I are thinking about reporting this to the police, what do you think?”

      1. I agree. LW could contact friend to see how she’s doing and get a feel for how things are going on her end, sans warning about the police. I could also see how that could be difficult, especially if you already know you are going to contact the police or if friend realizes it’s a strong possibility. I don’t think either way is wrong and that decision would be LW’s to make. What a crappy situation. 😦

        1. Or LW could send best-friend a text message with something like “what your fiancé did isn’t your fault, you are still my friend – sending love”. You can send love via text without giving away anything about the practical side of what next.

      2. Yes, that’s an option. A few possible drawbacks:

        1. LW seems to be a person of conscience, and as such, may find it hard to have that conversation while hiding something that big. Friend is very likely, after all, to want to know what they’re going to do. At best, it’ll be so stressful it’ll be hard to focus on giving Friend proper support.

        2. If they find it hard to hide, Friend may figure something’s up and say as much to Fiance, putting him on alert. And if she doesn’t he may later refuse to believe Friend didn’t know and blame her anyway.

        3. It opens LW up to the ‘How could you act like you were just concerned about me when all the time you were planning on going to the police?’ conversation.

        I say go to the police now and get it over with.

        1. Yeah, I was thinking–the LW doesn’t have to be the one to bring it up for it to come up. I think it is very, very likely that the fiance has primed the LW’s best friend to be the one to broach the subject. At which point she’s going to have to figure out what to say.

          I remember when a friend of mine had an abusive boyfriend in college, and part of what he did to isolate her was to threaten her friends. But his way of attempting to ensure that he didn’t get in trouble for that was that he would spin her up in all these conversations where he’d be like “I just don’t know, I feel like your friends hate me and they’re going to say things to the RA and then I’ll be in trouble with the university” and on and on. So then even in an innocuous conversation where we’d be like, “So how are things?” she’d leap right in with “promise me you won’t tell the RA about the time Joe threatened to hit you, promise me please, he’s a really good guy and he just makes mistakes and he didn’t mean it.” Which put us in a dreadful place, really.

          So I’d say, if she chooses to talk to the cops, I’d still do that first. Because it is not at all unlikely that the fiance is basically grooming the LW’s best friend to attempt to do damage control on this on his behalf, and at that point, there’s the possibility of getting stuck with a point blank “what are you planning on doing about this?” possibly with a side of “o please o please swear you won’t tell anyone” and that’s going to be pretty awful regardless.

    2. Ice and Indigo, eloquent, succinct & I couldn’t agree more. There are no rules left to be broken here.

  42. Oh, LW. I am so sorry this is happening. Here are all the Jedi Hugs if you want them.

    The moment you mentioned getting dinner to talk about it, I started foaming at the mouth. SO MUCH NOPE! ALL THE NOPE! NOPE NOPE NOPE! Then I saw the last lines of CA’s response:

    “P.S. FUUUUUUUUUUUCK that upcoming “double date of reconciliation where we perform that everything is okay!” Cancel it. Right now it is 150% okay to see your friend, just your friend, when you want to see your friend.”


    I know you may feel obligated to do this, but let’s be real. The only good that will come of this dinner is that it will give Creeper McCreeperson a chance to make dinner into his own manipulative mealtime. You should absolutely talk to your friend one-on-one. You need to know how she’s doing, and you also need to make sure she has all the facts, unfiltered by Baneful Barkeep. Her parents need to know this happened as well.

    Your concerns about this causing trouble with your friend and within your mutual friend circle are legitimate, and I hope it all plays out well. I was in a situation where I was assaulted by an SO of a friend in our circle. I didn’t report it, kept it a secret, and avoided social gatherings for almost a year. The friendship was not salvageable (though they did try to have one of those “look everything is fine” dinners…eeew), and as word got out, it caused some serious awkwardness and upsetting moments in the circle. This person was a missing stair in the group already, and it ends up many friends already had issue with them. So, I learned who my best friends are in that group, which ones can eat a sack of socks, and which ones I must keep at arm’s length because “Can’t we alllll just get along and be frieeeeennnnds?” No. No we can’t. Sorry not sorry.

    I would first talk to your friend. Then depending on how that goes, report this to the police and decide how to handle the mutual friends. If Fiendish Fiance feels cornered, he may try to do damage control and write the story to look like you are the one causing trouble and drama. Obviously you’re not, but if it looks like this is the direction things could be heading, you might want to speak directly to a couple of your closest friends in the group.

    Once again, I’m so sorry this is happening to you. It’s icky, uncomfortable, and extremely unfair. Be kind to yourself, and don’t let jerk brain try and tell you you’re overreacting. You’re not, and anybody who tells you otherwise is not your friend.

    1. And you know what, I just saw a comment about not talking to friend before calling the police because it could give the fiance warning that they are coming. That’s very true and something to keep in mind as well.

  43. I’m speaking from the point of view of a mandated reporter who is regularly in the position of attempting to maintain relationships (in my case, therapeutic relationships) with people who have done horrible things. First, call the police *now*. Keep the evidence to hand the police. He is *certainly* a sexual predator, and will hurt others, including your friend. As Ice and Indigo said, don’t tell your friend first. At this point he thinks he has gotten away with it without legal consequences, and probably has *tons* of evidence stashed electronically somewhere. And then be there for your friend to the extent she will let you.

  44. I cannot imagine what appetite I would have while Creepy McPredator tries to perform his apologies in front of an embarrassed and pained fiancee and then offer to pay the tab out of magnanimity and restitution. When would this discussion about him videotaping you peeing come up? Before the appetizers or after? Is he going to save his explanation of why he tried to frame your friend’s stepdad going to wait until dessert?

    He’s betting that there won’t be a scene because you’ll be at a restaurant, in public. HE’S STILL MANIPULATING THE SITUATION.

    Don’t go, LW, don’t go. There is no possible way this is going to end well, and I’m so, so sorry for that. To do best for your friend, you need to do what’s best for yourself, because you’re not going to have a friendship if you put her feelings of stability about her Predator fiance above your own need to acknowledge the reality of the situation.

  45. I really hate to say this but I think this friendship is done. You CAN’T ignore this and brush it under the rug; what he did was criminal and predatory and his actions scream ‘predator’. and your friend is going to defend him, and its going to tear apart the relationships and the police are going to have to get involved…. yeah. God, I’m so sorry. This is going to suck. MAYBE someday your friend is going to see him for what he really is and will reconcile with you but right now… boy, I don’t envy your position. “I’m going to get therapy” is like in the Predatory Criminal Handbook, he’s not going to get therapy. The only way for him to really get jolted out of his habit is to have serious consequences for his actions and even then…. please don’t ignore this and do nothing.

    1. For whatever it’s worth, the LW doesn’t seem to have spoken to their friend directly yet, so we have no indication of any kind how the friend is going to react. I think you’re jumping the gun a bit to assume this is going to tear their relationship apart and I doubt that is going to help the LW feel better about going to the police, etc.

      1. Right. I’m sure ‘shoot the messenger’ has no meaning at all. There is no making her feel better, this is a shit show either way but it does no good to bury your head in the sand and then be surprised that your friend blames YOU for blowing the whistle. Maybe she won’t, we can hope but that hasn’t been my experience with human beings and I’d rather be prepared than be surprised.

        1. Yes, obviously that happens sometimes – I never said otherwise. But you’re making definitive declarations about how the friend is going to respond that seem to be coming out of your personal experience rather than anything in the letter.

          “When X happened to me, Y was the fallout” is an utterly different comment than “Y is definitely going to happen to you.”

  46. Go to the police soon without letting fiancé know.

    Because right now your boyfriend is in possession of illegal material. And if fiancé is the type to pin the blame on someone else? It’s easy to destroy his own material and go to the police and spin a story about how your boyfriend convinced him it was a good idea and now Boyfriend has the footage and he just feels so bad and needed to let the authorities know.

    It might not bear close scrutiny by the police. It will still cause your boyfriend a world of trouble

    1. Oh my goodness this this this. LW, do not ever underestimate what Fiancé will do to cover his back. Including framing your beloved. You must be one step ahead of McCreepster at all times. That means going to the police before he can. Before the scheduled dinner, in fact (which you also shouldn’t go to, but suddenly cancelling will tell Fiancé that something is up and he might be tempted to take pre-emptive action “just in case.” Go to the police, THEN cancel).

    2. Yes. This.
      Sweet Fiancé is gone, maybe never existed. Creeper Fiancé may have let you keep the others so he could pin it on you if necessary.

  47. Sometimes you have to make horrible, unfair sacrifices to do the right thing. If you lose your friendship that’s awful but this guy violated your boyfriend, you and everyone else.

    Bit about Lundy Bancrofts’ writings I like is he mentions the rehabilitation process for abusers means admitting what they did in full and accepting whatever disgust comes their way. He’s not doing that. He’s trying to get a word in so he can mitigate it and trying to minimize what he did.

  48. Please contact the police. Let them decide if it’s worth investigating/pursuing. Save your friend from a life with this guy, please.

  49. I’m thinking the homeowners should report this to their insurance company. It’ll give all of you who were attacked and victimized some extra muscle.

      1. I guess it would be a cover your ass measure on the parent’s part. Theoretically, someone who was filmed unconsensually in someone’s home could sue, or want to sue, but since it’s not the perpetrator’s home, the parents would want to protect themselves legally.

        The one upside to this not being the Fiance’s house is that the power to let police search the property isn’t in his or his girlfriend’s hands, but her parents, and that’s easier to deal with than getting a search warrant.

  50. Oh my goddess. I have no words to accurately convey my grief and horror and sympathy for you and your bf and your friend, LW. This must be terrifying and anything you’re feeling right now is valid.

    Do you think it might be helpful to engage a psychological professional to help sort out these feels?

    I want to throw my tiny voice of support behind your bf and his desire to contact the police. If there’s even a chance that children have been filmed, the police should be involved. Not that filming adults without consent isn’t a sex crime, bc it is, but children are – to me – a whole other separate category that requires attention and requires adults who are capable of protecting them to do so.

  51. I haven’t read all of the comments, so I’m not sure if someone else has already said this, but I just want to throw this out there: LW, even if it’s true that this fiance has been targeting you specifically and hasn’t been recording other people, he’s still done something horrible. You don’t deserve the feelings of violation and fear that he gave you, and you don’t have to hide those feelings to protect your friend. She will almost certainly be hurt in one way or another if she marries someone who’s willing to commit a crime like this, but that is not your fault and also beside the point I’m trying to make. The point is: YOUR feelings are also important, and even if you were sure you were the only person being hurt, you deserve to get help and to protect yourself from this guy.

  52. LW, I really feel for you and I hope you and your boyfriend follow the Captain’s advice and do whatever is best for you as a response to being violated in this unethical and illegal way. Don’t consider whether or not what you want to do will upset your friend, this is about each of you and how you want to proceed after a crime was committed against you. You wouldn’t just let it go if he vandalised your house or stole your car out of fear of upsetting her, I suspect? He’s relying on how embarrassing it is for you to admit that this happened to you. He expects this to all be swept under the rug because it’s impolite to talk about what happens in bathrooms.

    Whatever you want to do, if you want to keep your friendship with *her* you will have to insist on only seeing her without him and in public or in your home. Please follow the advice in the links below and assume that your friend’s relationship is toxic and abusive. http://blobolobolob.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/how-to-support-people-in-abusive.html?m=1

    These links are to the best advice I’ve ever seen on how to be a good supportive friend to someone you suspect or know to be in an abusive relationship (or family).

    1. This is a really good point. If a friend stole my car, I’d probably go to the police, and I’d rather have my car stolen than be TOUCHED IN MY SLEEP and SECRETLY FILMED NAKED on MULTIPLE OCCASIONS over the course of a years-long friendship.

  53. LW, I wanted to say one more thing.

    Well, two more things,I guess. First, this must be hard and awful for you, I mean, really hard and awful. I am trying to imagine how I’d feel if I found out that my best friend’s partner who is also my friend was doing this, and “hard and awful” barely scratches the surface. Take care of yourself. Let yourself be angry. Let yourself be angry and give yourself the privilege of not fretting out about how it might affect other people. You have a right to be angry.

    Okay, thing two: I noticed throughout your description of events that there were a number of rounds of “you shouldn’t tell X because they’d be happier not knowing.” And I wanted to highlight that because it has been my experience that it is almost never the case that adult human beings are better off being kept in ignorance. What you don’t know absolutely can hurt you–but even beyond that, it’s robbing someone of autonomy by preventing them from making an educated choice. And it has been my experience that people who will lie to others ostensibly for their own good will also lie to you “for your own good,” and will also lie about you for… the good of something.

    And usually, at the end of the day, the ultimate ‘good’ they are protecting is their own. “I deceived you for your own good” usually means, at the end of the day, “I deceived you because it was convenient for me.” The rest is smoke and mirrors.

    1. “Okay, thing two: I noticed throughout your description of events that there were a number of rounds of “you shouldn’t tell X because they’d be happier not knowing.” And I wanted to highlight that because it has been my experience that it is almost never the case that adult human beings are better off being kept in ignorance.”

      This really jumped out at me, too. In the immediate, the LW has a lot of other stuff to deal with. But in the longer term, they may want to really think about this, and talk with their boyfriend about it. It seems that both LW and their boyfriend have a tendency to want to protect people from information, and it is not serving them well here.

  54. I just want to make this crystal clear: I’m not convinced that it’s better if he’s just targeting you. I don’t know if this is an escalation in 10 years of him stalking you–what if he started dating your friend to get access to you? You honestly don’t know, and, I say this with love, but I think as women we are too quick to find reasons not to cut people out of our lives.

    At minimum, this man filmed you secretly and, we can assume, either got off privately or shared publicly the videos. He may have touched you already. What is the next step? Is it more filming–or is it violence? Is someone who’s willing to film you willing to break into your home the next time your boyfriend is away? You don’t know.

  55. What a horrible, horrible thing. LW, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. My apologies if someone has already said this, but it struck me as a particularly nasty example of manipulation. You say in your letter “fiancé said on the phone that he’d only done it to me, not anyone else” as an aside, and I think you may not be considering what it means.

    The man has been caught committing a crime, and he’s lying to try to get out of it because he knows damn well what will happen to him when the law catches up with him. As part of this, he attempting to drive a wedge between you and your best friend. He knows that your best friend will now be a little bit uncomfortable around you, that she will secretly wonder whether you somehow led fiancé on, and after so many years with him and in the middle of planning their wedding she will find it incredibly difficult to extricate herself from the relationship, inform family and friends, perhaps even cancel wedding venue bookings, honeymoon etc. So in the midst of the nightmare of pain and confusion, he’s sowing a little seed of doubt in an attempt to cast you in the role of Evil Temptress. He thinks that she’ll want to see you less and she’s more likely to stay with him and (most importantly to him) not call the police. And saying that you’re his only victim is absolutely a lie. How many cameras were hidden in the bathroom? How likely is it that you’re the only person he has ever secretly filmed using multiple hidden cameras? No way are you the only person he’s ever spied on, spending all that money on little spy cameras to hide in the bathroom.

  56. Hi LW, long time reader, first time commenter here.

    I had something very creepy happen to me recently (stalker-flavoured, rather than voyeur-flavoured) and I had to make a decision between either (a) filing a police report, which would lead to a Consequence for Mr Creepystalker, which would itself lead to another Consequence, which would lead to his deportation and the possible ruination of all his life’s hopes and dreams, or (b) futile administrative notices, which would result in absolutely nothing at all happening, and my continuing to have to encounter him at work, and him continuing to have opportunities to stalk and harass me and try to find out where I live.

    I chose option (a), but it was not an easy decision. I recognize in your letter a lot of the guilt and desire to minimize that I went through (interspersed with rage, frustration, terror and a whole medley of other things)

    The thing that helped me come to my decision, and stay the course, was the sheer number of times I had to tell people exactly what he had done. Repeating over and over again how he had crossed professional boundary 1, and done creepything 2, and said fuckedupthing 3, and sent emails 4 through 104, really really helped to get it through my head that he had taken these actions, no one had compelled him, and he had continued to choose to harass and stalk me when told that his behaviour was inappropriate.

    Now, I would have loved if there had been an option between The Nuclear Option and Nothing Happens At All, but there wasn’t. And there may not be in your case, either. But I implore you, say those words, out loud and often. Say them to friends, counsellors, police officers, your boyfriend, your best friend (especially your best friend, especially if you get pushback from her). “He filmed me, naked, in the bathroom. He put cameras in a place that is extraordinarily private and personal and took pictures and images of me without my consent.” Whatever way you need to phrase it, don’t minimize it, don’t let him say things that make it sound softer or less of a violation than it is. He filmed you in the bathroom. That is not OK. There is no planet on which that is OK. There are no arguments, diagnoses, addictions or personality disorders that make that OK.

    Feeling guilt at “ruining his life” is normal and incredibly common. It’s your brain trying to tell you you had some control over this, because if it’s your fault, then you can make it not happen again. Your brain is wrong about that, the guilt will pass. Don’t let him.

    1. sorx, I’m so sorry you had to go through that! I hope you encountered AskAManger’s mantra that by reporting something, “YOU didn’t get them fired, they got THEMSELVES fired.” Of course this sounds a lot bigger than just a job. ❤ and Jedi hugs.

    2. This is great advice – I’m sorry you had to go through this experience in order to be able to give it, but thank you for sharing it with the rest of us!

  57. LW I want to offer my support to you and your boyfriend. I’m almost your BFF from 3 years in the future. My BFF had a Creepy Dude recording videos of her from around her bedroom door. I can imagine exactly how upset and scared and uncertain you are. I want to gently encourage you to take the videos to the police, and also reassure you that it’s fine if you don’t want to. Please don’t go to the dinner. Find a way to talk to your BFF alone, but be prepared that she may not be able to support you at this time. Take extra-good care of yourself. It is not your fault that a dude you thought was a good decent guy turned out to be a mega-creep, and there is nothing you did to “deserve” this.

    My BFF reported her creep and he served time for it. I will be thinking of you and crossing my fingers for an outcome even half as good.

  58. The whole “I’ll get help” thing is him trying to deflect blame off himself, like he just couldn’t help it and he’s a victim of his own desires? (also, using the possibility of mental illness to throw shade and get himself out of trouble is real, real shitty). Except…except there’s a whole lot of forethought and planning that went into this. He was not physically compelled to go to the store and buy a camera. If he genuinely didn’t want to do this to you, he had a lot of chances to go “I will seek help” instead of “I will get the most secret type of camera”. And IF his story is true that you’re the only one he did this to (it’s probably not, but lets just say it is), then that’s super extremely creepy…it means he bought that camera JUST FOR YOU. That’s some very deliberate shit right there. Even if you give him the benefit of the doubt that he’s not filming other people, OR that he’s not selling the videos of you and/or other people (which there is a good good chance that that’s the endgame), he made all of these choices and carried them out, knowing how much it would hurt you and hurt his partner and not caring. The risk of hurting all of you was worth it to him.

    1. It kinda seems like two parts of his story are contradicting themselves.

      1. He was powerless to help himself. He’s has to ‘get help’. Implying some sort of addiction, compulsion, or other mental illness.

      2. He only filmed the LW.

      So he was both completely out of control and powerless, and also only did this violating and disgusting thing to one person. This is reminding me a lot of the ‘abuser who hits you because they have “anger management” issues, but is mysteriously able to be completely calm and collected when dealing with the police, or their boss, or anyone who isn’t you’.

      1. I suppose it’s possible he only filmed LW – but if that’s true, he could hardly be handling it worse.

        Only filming her – repeatedly – suggests an obsession with her. If you’re that obsessed with someone and you really want to ‘get help’, the first step has got to be putting some distance between you, not inviting them to dinner to ensure you’ll be as close as ever.

        And if you expect someone to make an immediate commitment to staying close to you after you admit to filming them on the toilet, rather than scared and mistrustful and needing some space to process? I don’t think you’re trying to get over the obsession.

        He’s not saying ‘I’ve been in love with you for years and it got horribly out of hand, let’s take a break.’ He’s saying ‘I only did it to you, but let’s act like it was nothing personal.’ Whatever that adds up to, it’s nothing healthy.

        Or there’s another possibility: he only did it to LW, but not because he’s obsessed with her – he’s obsessed with the idea of voyeurism, and prudently confined himself to a victim he stood a good chance of talking out of going to the police if he got caught. And if that’s the case – well, now LW has rumbled him, finding another safe target is a possibility. And ‘It’s okay to violate you, you’re my friend’ is pretty ghastly.

        1. I see the “it was only you” as a pressure tactic on the LW. She can fix it all! As long as she’s willing to put herself last. Ugh.

          Alternatively, if he was filming material to use as entry currency to a video exchange site, it might be just (or largely) her our of convenience. But then, there’s that pub… can’t be sure without an investigation. And the “currency” option both increases the violation by distributing the film (and treating the LW as an object to be used), and means he’ll be looking for a new victim.

          Whatever he’s really up to, LW, this is not on you to fix, and along with the actual videoing, it’s also offensive that he’s pressuring you to put it in the past so quickly. He’s broken your trust repeatedly and is now trying to get you to reassure *him* about it.

  59. It’s killing me to read LW worrying about the feelings of every person involved except herself. Friend, Fiance, Boyfriend. It’s a side note that she’s paranoid about going to the bathroom now. It’s barely mentioned that he also might have touched her in her sleep. LW, you and your boyfriend have been violated. I strongly suggest you speak with a therapist about this.

    As for your friend… There’s a line from Captain Awkward’s “creepy dude in the friend group” post that applies here: If your friend tries to shush you on this, tries to make this about fiance’s feelings and not yours, then you don’t have a Fiance problem – You have a Friend problem. Your friend needs to agree that you do not ever have to see fiance again. Not ever. She will never bring him anywhere you’re going to be, never bring you anywhere he’s going to be. If she can’t agree to that, then she should not be your friend.

      1. Great point, thanks. I should have put “paranoid” in quotes. It’s another indication of LW minimizing her own very real, very normal fear response as something that’s all in her head.

        1. Or maybe not use paranoid at all, given that it has an actual meaning? Concerned, worried, triggered, hypervigilant, traumatised; there are plenty of alternatives. As for a fear response being in someone’s head, I would have thought that a very good place for it, myself.

          1. Oh, for goodness sake, “paranoia” has a colloquial meaning as well as a clinical one. Sometimes language isn’t so cut & dried.

          2. Thank you for your rather less than compassionate comment but I beg to differ.

            Paranoia does NOT have a ‘colloquial’meaning as well as a clinical one. It is a medical term.

          3. Cathy, I suspect that the good Captain does not want this to be the place where we debate this, so I will simply say: I am among those for whom the medical term is actually applicable (I have a real diagnosis and everything!), and I find your policing inappropriate and, honestly, upsetting. I wasn’t going to say this, but since you’ve been all up and down this thread doing it even though it’s not actually of any relevance to the LW’s question, I felt like I finally needed to say something.

          4. It is of relevance because the LW herself used the term, and was clearly worried.

            But as I am in a minority of one here, I will desist.

          5. The LW used the term “paranoid” to describe the way she feels about going into bathrooms now. I used it to demonstrate my worry that she is dismissing/playing down her violation and the very real post-traumatic response she’s experiencing to focus instead on the feelings of everyone BUT her. That’s why I should have put the word in quotes.

          6. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have clinical PTSD and have found it helpful to be able to use the word ‘paranoid.’ Just because a response is ‘normal’ for a traumatised person doesn’t mean it’s rational, and when a feeling is both irrational and painful, it can be good to have a word that reminds you that, for instance, most bathrooms aren’t actually bugged and can be used safely. It puts a bit of distance between your normal personality and the traumatic reaction – and since one of the worst things about trauma is that it can leave you feeling like your previous personality has been taken away, that can be a good thing.

          7. Ice and Indigo, thank you, that is a much more eloquent explanation of how I feel as well.

  60. I really hope I’m overreacting, but the thing this most reminds me of is Rillington Place, the BBC drama about the serial killer Reginald Christie. It shows how he gaslit and abused his wife Ethel (whom he eventually killed) to the point where she didn’t question obviously disturbing stuff under her nose (as in, fresh bloodstains in their bedroom). He also engaged in voyeurism (spying on their neighbour, whom he also then killed). To be clear, I think it’s very unlikely that Fiance is a serial killer, but the fact that he can do something this blatantly wrong and not see why people would be shocked makes me worry that there could be all sorts of other criminal behaviour he’s covering up. I’m with all the other commentators – put this in the hands of the police straight away. Talk to your friend and her parents directly, make sure they know everything, and tell her you love and support her but won’t pretend this never happened. Get legal advice and therapy for yourself, and never spend any time around Fiance again.

  61. Cool! Awesome! Here’s the thing: Fiance is not and has never been your friend. He has been pretending to be your friend, when in reality he is a sexual predator who takes advantage of people when they are incapable of protecting themselves, such as: when they are sleeping, and when they are shitting. Fiance is not your friend. You love the idea of your best friend’s worthless fiance; the real Fiance is someone who does not deserve your love.

    Think about this. You don’t know how long this has been happening, LW. This is a person who has enjoyed the idea of taking advantage of you the entire time he has known you. The first time you smiled at a text message from Fiance, he was a sexual predator. The first time you split the dinner bill with Fiance, he was a sexual predator. The first time your best friend realized she had feelings for Fiance, he was a sexual predator. The day he proposed marriage to your best friend, he was a sexual predator. This isn’t a new development in your friend. He has always been this person.

    That said, here are your next steps. Do them in order, except for #5, which can be done whenever the opportunity presents itself.
    1. Go to the police. Give them the cameras.
    2. Now.
    3. Meet with your best friend. Meet her in person. Do not text this to her and do not call her to tell her, because Fiance will be there to put out fires. If he’s got tabs on people shitting in somebody else’s goddamn house, he’s got tabs on his fiancee’s texts. Trust and believe.
    4. Get some emotional support. This means: tell anyone who will be on your side, and then meet with a therapist. What happened to you was a sex crime. Victims of sex crimes get therapy all the time. It is a reasonable thing to do after becoming the victim of a sex crime.
    5. Find out if your boyfriend is ok. He was the victim of a sex crime also. And he might be putting on a strong facade for you. He might be subscribing to this false “women are victims of abuse and sex crimes; men are not” idea that was taught to him by society. He might be having trouble understanding what he went through. He said he was only worried about you, and then he said he’d like to go to the police AFTER you agreed to Weird Dinner. It sounds to me like he was hoping you’d be the one who was horrified and wanted the creep arrested so that he wouldn’t have to admit it happened to him too. Of course, I don’t know him like you do.

    Honestly, I think it’s entirely and one hundred percent probable, if not guaranteed, that Fiance also touched you in your sleep, which is vile and disgusting and unforgivable, and if he’s really got a compulsion, he should have gotten help BEFORE that compulsion turned into a sex crime. But everyone else in this thread has already affirmed that.

    LW, you’re smart and good, and you’re way too smart and way too good to fall for this person’s lies and filters. Listen to your gut: it’s telling you this is Wrong with a capital W and four underlines. Your gut is rarely wrong. Your gut knows better than you do whether or not you have food poisoning, too. Trust it.

    Your best friend is engaged to a disgusting person. I’m sorry that’s happened to her. I’m sorry it’s bled over into your life. And I’m sorry for every single person that’s ever been exposed to this worthless creep. Fiance does not deserve to plead his case at Weird Dinner. Fiance does not deserve forgiveness. Fiance does not deserve to “go get help” instead of answering for what he’s done. Fiance deserves nothing. A person who is willing to take advantage of someone when they have every reason to believe they are safe, and who only feels bad when their victims discover what’s happening to them, is a person who deserves nothing. Bupkis. Goose egg. Zero. Run and tell that.

    I understand it’s hard to reconcile your positive affection for the years of friendship with this person, with the bleak reality that he is refuse. It may take some time. It did for me. And it got worse when I found out I wasn’t the first.

    Hope you’re all right, LW. Please act quickly.

    1. When you said he might be monitoring Best Friend’s texts, I got legit scared. She should check all electronics for key loggers and other spyware ASAP. And if Fuckface Fiancé has ever been on LW’s/ boyfriend’s computer They should also check for spyware. The more I think about this the creepier it gets. People that will secretly watch you take a crap have no barriers and are capable of any privacy violation.

      1. Luckily, LWs boyfriend seems to be able to check that for them both if he was able to make out the spy cams because of his work.

      2. Ik. A long time ago, I texted my rapist’s girlfriend, asking her to meet me at the park. We weren’t very close friends, but we’d hung out a few times. I didn’t specify what we were meeting about, just that I wanted to meet her, just the two of us.

        I wanted her to know. I wanted someone to know.

        When I got there, my rapist was there. His girlfriend was totally oblivious. I played it off like we were just hanging out, totally innocuous, went home, had a massive panic attack. I still don’t know what he told her, but she didn’t speak to me much after that. I still play over that afternoon in my mind all the time, wondering if it was obvious, if he knew, if I did something that tipped him off, if I had missed some crucial chance to warn her. I still wonder what would have happened if I’d asked her in person.

        After years of therapy, I’ve started to learn how not to blame myself for this. But I still wonder.

        1. Sounds to me like he knew you two were meeting up and he wanted to cover his ass. Not necessarily because he knew what you had planned, but just to make sure. IWhatever happened in their relationship, it’s not your fault and you went beyond what could be expected of you to warn her.

  62. Hi, LW. I would like to urge you to find out about getting a protective order against Fiance. It would absolutely create difficulties in maintaining your relationship with Friend if she is not willing or able to be away from him very often. However, this could perhaps be done separate from talking to the police. What this accomplishes is getting things on record, and establishing consequences for continued contacts by Fiance. I would not trust him to not try to get close to you or to cause you further harm, especially if he gets an inkling that criminal consequences may be forthcoming. It does not require you filing charges to do this in my area, and perhaps also not in yours. It is not necessarily a preventive measure, but it gives you some institutional protections.

    1. I do want to say that going the protective order route can also be harrowing. It would require court dates to get a long-term order in place, so I don’t want to give the impression this is an easy thing to do. It can be time-consuming and stressful, but it does set consequences for violation of the order that could allow him to be prosecuted. I will also agree with the advice to go to the police about the videoing, and the protective order could be done in addition to that.

    2. In my state, you can’t get a restraining order unless you are a family member of current/former romantic partner. She wouldn’t be able to get that order against him without a criminal complaint.

  63. So this happened to me… my sister and her boyfriend moved into my house while saving to buy a house and one morning when I was getting ready I spotted a camera in the room. I thought at first it was his teenage son, but the video clearly showed him setting it up. I didn’t allow him back in the house, my sister packed up his stuff and he moved back in with his parents. My sister begged me not to go to the cops, I spent a few months thinking about it and eventually decided not to. I forgave him and they’re now married but it took years. The big reason I forgave him is that he went to therapy by himself and with her for years. They also respected my wishes, I banned him from my presence and my sister was there at every holiday without him and never pressured me to forgive him. We were still close, he was just a topic we never discussed. They also waited to discuss marriage until I eventually felt able to talk to him about it (years, it was years later) and he was very apologetic and took full responsibilty for what he did. So I guess my point is this is something that can be moved past, but I wasn’t willing to lose my sister and he did what he needed to.

  64. Have you ever heard the expression, “Don’t set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm?” You are pouring gasoline all over yourself in attempt to keep your friend and her fiancé warm. You’re also lighting your boyfriend, your friend’s parents, anyone who has stayed in friend’s house or the guest house, and his customers at the pub – hell, anyone who makes themselves vulnerable around this creepster – ablaze. All so your friend don’t have to feel the full impact of choosing this person as a partner. What makes them more important than most of the people you know? What makes her friendship more important than your own safety or dignity or feelings or well-being?

    Please, please don’t have any contact with this guy. Don’t give him the opportunity to manipulate you further. you need to contact the authorities. You need to speak to a counselor. You need to do a LOT of things described above, before you even think about talking to friend or finance again.

  65. Fiance is a master manipulator. He first blamed his voyeurism on an innocent third party, and when that didn’t stick … he claimed to need “help”, casting himself as the victim. He then tried to meet you in public, so you won’t actually be able to hash out the fact that he hid cameras in his shower to see your naked body and your boyfriend’s naked body. And other people’s naked bodies.

    I’m with your BF on this one. I think you should be a good friend to your friend, and support her in getting away from this criminal.

  66. Dear LW,

    A longtime friend of mine, G, was arrested some years ago for secretly placing a webcam in a neighbor’s bedroom and recording her. She found it and called the cops and they took the device, and G went over to her house the next day and confessed. As reported in their local paper, he said things very similar to what your friend’s fiancé eventually said to you: he’d done it before, he knew it was wrong, he wanted to get help, etc.

    When G was on trial, his wife emailed everyone they knew asking them to submit letters attesting to his sterling character, in hopes of reducing his sentence… and didn’t tell any of us what he’d been arrested for, referring to it only as “serious legal problems”, as we certainly would have been less likely to send those letters if we’d known. (I might have, because they have two young kids, G is the family breadwinner, and I despise basically everything about the U.S. carceral system, but I resent not getting the choice. I only found out afterwards because I googled him up out of curiosity.) So as much as I hate to say it, I do not think you can trust your best friend right now, and you certainly can’t trust her when she’s in her fiancé’s company. She has her own self-interest to consider, and that may lead her to pretend that everything’s fine rather than confronting the fact that the man she loves and is planning to spend her life with is a creeper who lies and gaslights when he’s caught. She may also be at risk from him, especially if he has video of her (which he presumably does) that he could threaten to distribute in retaliation for any rejection or action taken against him.

    Your boyfriend wanting to call the cops is understandable. Your reluctance to do so is also understandable. I think each of you has to make that choice individually. But please think carefully as you weigh the cost to you of one (1) friendship (since the fiancé has already made it clear that he is not good friend material), even a very dear friendship, vs. the cost to who knows how many other people, including very possibly to your friend, of creeper dude being free to go on creeping.

    I understand what it’s like to have trouble reconciling “I like this person” with “this person has done awful things”. It’s really hard. It’s harder when your trauma response looks anything like going very still and hoping that no one will notice you and hurt you again. And you may also be struggling with the knowledge that most “criminal justice” systems are anything but. Nonetheless, sometimes they are the best way we have to protect a lot of people from one likable, dangerous person, and sometimes the best way to protect yourself and others is to take decisive action.

    That said, the statute of limitations on sexual crimes (of which this is one) is usually fairly long. You’d be well advised to consult with a lawyer right away, since you’re in possession of evidence of a crime, but there’s no rush on reporting that crime to the police, other than what your conscience dictates. Everyone telling you and your boyfriend to talk to a therapist (or individual therapists) right away is also correct.

    I occasionally correspond with G. He’s in prison, and bored; he’s studying dressmaking and Zen, and trying to figure out how to be an activist for prison reform. I tell him a little about my life, but not a lot. Sometimes I go months or years without being able to bring myself to write to him, and that’s fine. When he tries calling me, I don’t answer. I wouldn’t call us friends anymore. Lots of people have prisoner pen pals, and that’s about the level we’re on. I miss him being my friend and I’m sad that he fucked up and did something awful and hurt someone, but I talk to my therapist about those feelings if they bother me, and I don’t let them motivate me to be vulnerable around someone who isn’t trustworthy. You and your boyfriend will find your own ways to set boundaries with your friend and her fiancé, moving them over time as you feel is necessary, and you will also find your own ways to recover from this trauma and feel safe again.

    Hang in there.

  67. Like others, I am horrified, and it is worrying that this guy is manipulating the situation to continue to hold all the power (of which he’s already got a lot, by keeping one of those recorders, although the chances these are already online are high).

    I only got a little ways down in the comments so far, so I apologize if this has been said already – LW, if you are concerned about your best friend’s feelings, give her the chance to be upset about this now. Save her from the awful divorce if she marries this criminal. I would want you to talk to me about this frankly in her situation.

  68. At first I was glad that you found out that fiance is a predator before your friend married him. Then I just kept thinking THREE. He set up THREE cameras in the bathroom of his future in laws house to film his fiance’s friends.

  69. This is a crime. Mega crime. Call police ASAP.
    It’s not just who he’s been recording – it’s also who he’s been sharing those recordings with!

  70. Voyeurism is a type of sex addiction and it is a brain disease just as alcoholism is a disease. It doesn’t excuse the behavior, but it might be worth it to remember that NONE of us are as bad as our worst deed. There is treatment for sex addiction, and recovery. I know of a man who attended a 12 step group for sex and love addiction for many years. He did have one relapse but has been sober ever since. His acting out behavior was exposing himself and/or masterbating in public. He had been arrested for it. But, all I’m saying is, people can change.

    1. People can change but you don’t have to hang out while they do or bet your safety that they will.

    2. You are excusing and trying to enable a predator by suggesting to the LW that she shouldn’t judge him.


      1. + a lot

        This is entirely unhelpful for the LW. It doesn’t address her question, nor does it offer her support. It leaps to diagnosing Predator as a sex addict and then paints him in the same light as someone who has acknowledged wrongdoing and ostensibly worked to atone. Even if he had, as the song the Captain includes says, LW is under no obligation to forgive.

        Not only does your example not compare with the LW’s situation, it holds very dangerous logic that the Captain already covered: If he can’t help it, then somehow it’s not his fault.

        Regardless, many commenters have already stated that this predator is not 100% evil, because obviously he’s great enough the rest of the time to be friends with the LW for nine years and engaged to her best friend.

        The point is that regardless of WHY he did what he did, or how he deals in the future, Predator has sexually assaulted the LW and should be held accountable.

      1. It’s interesting to me that you never hear anybody say “Nobody is as good as their best day.”

        1. It actually isn’t a terrible way to form an opinion on someone: at their best, they do this, at their worst, they do that. At his best, he rescued me from an avalanche at risk of his own life; at his worst, he called me a stupid prat and stormed off to cool down. At his best, he sends really thoughtful birthday cards; at his worst, he robbed six old ladies of their life savings.

          For my own part, I have occasionally stopped being someone’s friend precisely because of their ‘worst deed’. Their worst deed wasn’t the whole of them, but it was their low-water mark: under the right circumstances, they will go at least this low. Some people go lower than others, and some lows are too low.

          1. Yes. If I know someone’s worst is that they tried a clumsy fraud scheme that had the side effect of endangering an old friend’s job, that doesn’t tell me that they will deliberately hurt their friends. It does tell me that they are, at best, thoughtless and self-centered, in ways that make them potentially unsafe to be around. That’s not criminal, but it’s also not good friend material.

    3. Are you really, really intending to be all, “but what about the mens?!” about this? Really? The people recorded without their consent, the innocent third party accused of making that recording, the many other people likely recorded. …they should feel a sense of compassion for this guy?

      This doesn’t even have the cover of, “oh, God, I had a moment of being horrible.” He planned this. He formed the desire to record someone in secret. He researched hidden cameras. He bought them. He unpacked them, he read the directions. He installed the software on his computer. He waited until there was a time when people would be undressing and using the bathroom, and he’d be able to set up the cameras. He set up the cameras. He left them in place for the duration of the trip, and then he was unexpectedly interrupted in his horrible process.

      This is not someone unthinkingly looking at cleavage, or snatching up a waitresses tip on a moment of dumb, awful weakness. This was a multi step procedure. This was not one horrible moment, hastily turned away from.

    4. …Then he’s as bad as his 2nd worst deed. If his worst deed is setting up 3 cameras (note: it may be that his worst deed is MUCH worse than this and has yet to be discovered), then his 2nd worst deed is setting up 2 cameras. Happy? /snark

      This man who got better, does he acknowledge that no matter how better he may be, there may well still be innumerable people out there who were traumatised by his actions? Does he fully understand this? If he doesn’t, or he tries to minimise what they went through, then he is NOT better. I’m thinking of all those people, when I hear your story, and I wish you would think of them too. Maybe if you did, you would not have left this supremely unhelpful comment for the LW.

    5. Oh, go fuck yourself. He violated the LW. She’s not a fucking line of coke, she’s a human being. I am sick to death of shitheel apologists like you coming in here and dismissing and diminishing what these assholes did.

      People can change? Great! What about the people he violated? Do they not count for anything or is it the duty of those of us who’ve been violated to just suck it up?

      Again: Go fuck yourself.

    6. Posting again to say: I don’t give a tin shit WHY he did it. He violated at least two people, maybe more. My concern is stopping him from continuing to do so. Allowing him to control the narrative and escape any accountability will allow him to continue to violate people. My concern is the with the people he violated and hurt–people that he apparently doesn’t see as human beings.

    7. “Sex addiction” isn’t a recognized medical condition. Empirical evidence does not support “sex addiction” as being a real thing. The American Psychiatric Association does not include “sex addiction” (nor hypersexuality) in the DSM-5. The American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists rejects “sex addiction” as a real mental illness.

      “Sex addiction” is not at all comparable to alcoholism or other real addictions, and you do a disservice to people with real addictions by saying it is. “Sex addiction” is pseudoscience. Stop being an apologist for sexual predators.

      (Twelve step programs also lack evidence of their efficacy. I would not for a second trust a twelve step program to fix a person’s predatory behaviour.)

    8. If you’re unrepentant in regards to your worst deed, it defines you as a person.

    9. There’s a fucking huge difference between exposing oneself and secretly videoing other people.
      Your example chose to allow himself be watched while he was naked. LW and BF did not choose to be watched while they were naked.
      Your example’s criminal act did not include making a permanent record of his nakedness, a record that very easily could end up on the internet. And if it did, HE chose to do it.

      Maybe no one is as bad as their worst deed, but the state of their inner soul isn’t the issue; their actions are and we are allowed to act accordingly. And you know what, there are some deeds that are so bad I don’t give a flying fuck whether or not the person “is” as bad as their deed. When they commit those deeds they forfeit the benefit of the doubt as to how bad they are.

      And ditto to above comments that 12-step programs are bogus. They’re popular because insurance companies and the government don’t want to pay for real treatment and proving they don’t work is difficult because by their very nature it’s impossible to conduct a scientific study of their success rate. You only hear about the successes* because the failures don’t stick around to be counted.

      And the successes aren’t necessarily successes.* Like my family member who I have no doubt will proudly collect a 30 years sober coin this year, because no one in their meetings has ever called them out on their drug abuse, which drug abuse was common knowledge in all the meetings family member attended. No accountability means no reliability.

    10. Okay this is such bullshit it needs more piling on. Nobody needs to defend this fucking predator. This is not the place or time for “but what about the mens?” you jackass, this is the place and time to sympathize with the VICTIM. You know, the one who wrote in because she’s been profoundly violated and is freaked out about it? What about her? She straight up matters more than some unbelievable asshole who deliberately, with malice aforethought, decided and planned and schemed to buy cameras that are easy to hide, install them in AN INNOCENT THIRD PARTY’S HOME, record unsuspecting victims, and get the video off those cameras for his unspeakably creepy purposes. Oh and he tried to frame that innocent third party when he was caught. Not confessed, caught. This is not somebody who’s going to have a moment of clarity and realise that he’s terrible. LW owes him nothing, least of all absolution in the form of believing he can change in spite of a mountain of evidence to the contrary.

      Sorry LW if you’re reading this, but the man you thought you know is never coming back. Laurie is a liar.

    11. Get a plain sheet of white paper. Crumple it into a ball, as tight as you can. Now unscrew it, lay it out flat.
      Now say sorry to it.
      Tell it you have a disease. That you’re getting help.
      The paper isn’t magically as good as new, is it? It’s still creased and crumpled.

      Now imagine how the victims of men like this feel. Because they’re not inanimate pieces of paper, they’re actual people who will bear the creases and crumples of his actions on their psyche forever.

  71. I know this has to hurt. It really does. There’s no good way to lose a friend of 9 years, but this is definitely a bad way.

    I think the thing to remember is…this is bad enough. Someone filming you in the bathroom is bad enough to stop being friends. It’s bad enough to go to the police. It’s premeditated, deliberate, and he’s lied repeatedly about it. This is a choice he’s made, and it’s bad.

    You’re going to keep having great memories about him, but…

    Even if he saved 100 rescue puppies by hand-feeding them, him recording you without your consent would still be bad enough to drop him like a hot coal.

    Even if he spent every single weekend with Habitats for Humanity and single-handedly built enough homes to house a small city, him recording you is bad enough to never speak to him again.

    You are a person, and you have rights, and he did something awful and infuriating to you. You didn’t end your friendship, he did.

  72. Get that third camera away from Friend and Fiance RIGHT NOW, before he uploads it, before you do even one other thing. Drive over there in the middle of the night if you have to.

    1. Obviously be really careful with that. I see the point of the comment but I’d never advise anyone to pull some ninja shit in the middle of the night on a guy who has shown he’s willing and capable of doing what we already know he’s done.

      Panicked, you gotta do what you gotta do but I hate the thought of you or you and your partner being in Creepers presence, let alone in his house or wherever he hides his stash (several locations I’d imagine, online already, probably somewhere you couldn’t guess) and especially not in the middle of the night.

  73. Sorry if this has already been said, but because LW and Boyfriend took possession of the tapes their hands may be tied and they may HAVE to report it to the police. If they keep the evidence of a crime, it could be considered that they are accomplices after the fact and/or obstructing justice/tampering with evidence and the same if they return to the tapes to Fiancé or Best Friend. Note: I am a lawyer, but not a criminal law practitioner.

  74. The scary thought I had when reading this letter was simple: LW and BF found three cameras. That doesn’t mean that there were only three cameras, in this house or elsewhere.

    LW, I’m sorry and I know this is awful and hard, but I think you HAVE to go to the police, now, to protect yourself and BF from this gaslighty asshole who is likely already thinking about how to spin this away from himself. And, for all the reasons above, I think you can’t tell your friend about this before you do, or there’s a good chance she will tip off her fiancé and there goes all the evidence.

    This is a horrible situation and I’m absolutely devastated that it happened to you. Please do what you need to do about getting help. Jedi hugs if you would like them.

    1. LW, I’m not going to tell you what you “have to” do or what you “need to” do: I am not you, your therapist, or a lawyer. But I think Drew is right that there may well be more cameras: the likely numbers of things are zero, one, and many, for many different kinds of things. So even aside from that third camera that he talked you into letting him keep, there may well be more in the in-laws’ house, or in your best friend’s house.

      I’m assuming the creep talked/manipulated you and your boyfriend into letting him keep the camera, because it seems unlikely to have been your own idea. He could have ‘fessed up to your best friend/his fiance without showing her a camera, because if she had demanded proof when he confessed, he could have told her that he’d given you the cameras so you’d feel safe, and encouraged her to talk to you. From another angle, if the reasoning was “but if I don’t show her a camera, she might not believe I did that,” what better for a creep than to set things up so that his confession would be doubted?

  75. Hi guys, it’s LW here.

    I just wanted to say from the bottom of my heart thank you all for your comments and advice. I wrote this letter 24 hours after discovering the cameras and I don’t think any of it had really sunk in yet. I already suffer from anxiety and depression and although I had been on the path to recovery over the past few months, this has sent me back down the rabbit hole again and I have been having panic attacks and shaking fits non-stop since this happened. That being said, I want you all to know that I ended up going to the police yesterday and making a statement. I made this decision for a number of reasons, but I honestly have been agonising over it ever since, and reading the Captain’s advice and all of your comments has finally made me feel like I’ve done the right thing, so thank you all, reading all of your supportive words meant everything for me today and I feel it will give me the strength in the coming days when my best friend finds out what I’ve done.

    For those who are interested, here is an update on some of the things that have happened since I wrote my letter last week:

    1. The day after I wrote in, my best friend called me in tears, apologising and begging me not to go to the police.

    2. My boyfriend called me the following day and said he’d found older files on the memory cards, you guys were right, it wasn’t just me on there. He’d also been filming my best friend and another mutual friend of ours (I’ll call her Jenny).

    3. I cancelled the planned double date of reconciliation, it did not happen.

    4. I decided I wanted to report it, as another girl was involved now and I couldn’t live with knowing this about her and doing nothing. Also I started to feel scared that if my boyfriend held on to the tapes and didn’t report he could end up in trouble too. I was also worried about fiancé filming other people I didn’t know about. But that night my best friend called me and told me that she thinks she’s pregnant, and that we would work through this and fiancé had already gone to see a therapist. They also had a mini holiday booked the following weekend with Jenny and her boyfriend (who is fiancé’s best friend) and she’d been looking forward to it for so long. I asked her if she was planning on telling Jenny what fiancé had done and she said no.

    5. This led to my boyfriend and I having a massive fight about what to do, as by this point I wanted to report it but he no longer did because of how messy it was getting. He kept asking me if I wanted to send fiancé to jail and ruin his life over this, because that was pretty much what was going to happen, but I just felt like we had no idea how many more people might be affected, and I was worried that best friend was already starting to cover up for him and I didn’t want her getting in any deeper than she already was, especially if she actually turns out to be pregnant.

    6. I ended up going to the police station by myself, but once I was there boyfriend ended up coming down to join me and he brought the tapes with him. (On a side note, I’m in Australia, not the U.S., and so far the police here have taken this very seriously and been incredibly kind and supportive to me.) Following their advice I’m not going to let my best friend know what I’ve done so that she doesn’t compromise herself in any way by warning fiancé.

    7. I also told the detective about assault that happened to me years ago (which I have never told anyone about until I wrote my letter to the Captain). Deep down I think I always knew I didn’t dream/imagine it, he did try to rape me when he thought I was passed out, I just suppressed it because it didn’t align with who I believed he was. Saying it out loud finally made it real and it’s going to take some time to unpack that, but it also helped me understand that fiancé is not a safe person and I absolutely do not have to be around him ever again.

    So again, thank you. Waking up and reading all your kind words today gave me a comfort I can’t even describe.

    1. Hello dear LW: you did the right thing. Be very nice to yourself. THANK YOU for the update.

      1. Dear LW, you definitely did the right thing. You have been massively brave and strong and I want you to feel proud of that. You have done nothing wrong. Be good to yourself.

    2. Thank you so much for the update! I was worried about you.
      You’re doing awesome. You are not ruining anyone’s life by speaking up and seeking protection and help. (Also, you got balls of steel for going to make a statement by yourself. Go you!)
      Please take good self-care measures (aka do things that make you feel happy and content) if feasible, and lots of strenght and love to you. You can do this.

    3. Well done for being so brave, even without much real life support. I’m so glad you went to the Police, and thank you for coming back to let us know. What this guy did to you was terrible, so I hope you can take some time to process that on your own behalf.

    4. Thank you for coming back here to give us this update, which I’d class as mostly good news (including the police response, that your boyfriend joined you at the police station, even though he hesitated first, and your certainty that you don’t need to be around the creep ever again).

      At this point I would add the advice to be careful both for and, unfortunately, around your best friend. She said “we would work through this,” but her idea of “working through it” isn’t intensive therapy for the creep and working to keep him out of situations like the ones he’s previously used to creep on women, it’s to go on a shared couples’ holiday with the other victim and not tell her what Creep did. (Even if your friend wants to protect the creep, or is afraid of what will happen if she tells, rather than prioritizing “I’ve been looking forward to this holiday for so long,” she and Creep could cancel, even if it has to be a last-minute “we can’t come, we don’t want to give you norovirus” rather than the half-truth of “we’re having some issues, and don’t think this trip is a good idea right now.”)

      For your sake and hers, I hope your friend sees through the creep and his excuses before the wedding, and I really really hope that she didn’t know about the filming before you found the cameras.

    5. Mate I am so glad to hear this. I’m also in Aus and feel quite reassured that the police are taking it seriously. Good on you for doing what you think is best – it can be bloody hard!

      Be kind to yourself ❤️

    6. You are SO STRONG!!
      Thanks for the update, I’m glad you wrote to CA so we internet strangers could give you some support.

    7. I am so glad to hear you went to the police. And. . .yes, I would be fine with “ruining” finance’s life. HE RUINED HIS OWN DAMN LIFE. Honestly, the minute you had proof it went on for far longer and involved more people it was a no-brainer to go to the cops. If I was Jenny and I learned later that he’d done this and other people knew but didn’t say or do anything, I would have been livid.

      I hope your friend comes to her senses. Her fiance tried to fuck up her mother’s partner’s life. He violated you, her best friend. He violated Jenny, another friend. It’s quite likely he violated a lot of other people.

      I’m glad you told the detective about the assault as well. That took a lot of strength and courage.

      Be well! We are all pulling for you here!

      1. THIS. And what if best friend has a daughter??? What havoc will this guy wreak in her life, with her mother just wanting to keep the peace? Eesh this is scary.

        I hope the best friend comes to her senses. If I were LW I’d probably either be trying to get through to her in not-nice terms or keep my distance. Then be there for her when things inevitably go south with fiance (hopefully NOT husband!!!).

      2. LW, I am in awe of you. ALL the high-fives.

        I am, however, massively side-eyeing Boyfriend here. Letting someone experience the consequences of their shitty, horrible behavior is not “ruining their life” for them. Trying to shame victims into going away quietly by acting as though they, not the shitty horrible person, are at fault is EXTRA vile, and I hope that after Boyfriend calms down a little he offers groveling apologies, because this was super-craptastic of him, LW, and I’m so proud that you stood up to this nonsense.

        I’m also sorry to hear that Ex-Best Friend made the also shitty, but sadly predictable, choice to say “Hey, can you all just sacrifice your well-being and enable a horrible predator so that my life can continue to be A-OK?”

        1. I’m also sorry to hear that Ex-Best Friend made the also shitty, but sadly predictable, choice to say “Hey, can you all just sacrifice your well-being and enable a horrible predator so that my life can continue to be A-OK?”

          It’s possible that probab-Ex-Best-Friend is a creeplady who is happily joined to creeplord.

          It’s likely though, that over the course of 9 years her ideas of normalcy have been eroded by him. I strongly suspect that he has subjected her coercion and abuse.

          Even so, I agree that for the time being she is not a reliable friend for the LW.

      3. This a million times! The burden of what a shitshow this is does not fall on you just because you’re the one who found out.

        Fiance ruined his own life.
        Fiance has been doing this life-ruining shit wit impunity to several women he is closest to (including his own partner, what the FUCK. I shouldn’t be surprised but still…), and who knows who else.

        It’s messy, but you didn’t make it messy either. Fiance made it messy. If he had done the very simple thing of Not Creeping On People’s Bathroom Time With Hidden Cameras for Years–something one really, really has to go out of their way to set up–there would be zero mess. Do NOT forget that. I’m sure some people involved are going to pull back from you or shun you for “making drama”, but any long time reader of CA knows that’s those accusations are enabling, apologist bullshit. Losing friends sucks; allowing your friends to be the victim of a predator sucks way way way more.

        You did the right thing. Any future fallout isn’t your problem, because it’s just exposing shit Fiance already did.

    8. Oh LW, you sound like a real badass, you know that? Your stance and how calm you seem through all of this is beyond admirable and I’m so, so glad you decided to do this – like the Captain said, you absolutely did the right thing. (I’m also extremely sorry about #7. Please take extra good care of yourself after going through those troubling memories after so many years.)

      A word to your boyfriend who asked “if [you] wanted to send fiancé to jail and ruin his life over this”: Well, fiancé could have made sure to not have his life ruined over this if he hadn’t engaged in being a creepy pervert. People who behave criminally are solely responsible for being brought to task for their criminal actions; following your bf’s logic, even someone who witnessed a murder shouldn’t go and tell the police about it because that would ruin the murderer’s life, to which I can only say “Well”. I’m glad your boyfriend came around, though, and ended up being just as supportive as before. I wish you guys all the best and thanks for the update!

      1. Dear Panicked LW, I hope that you will have a talk with your boyfriend about how much harm a perp is entitled to do before the victims are entitled to “ruin his life” by reporting his crimes to law enforcement. You and your boyfriend just found out something rather disappointing about your boyfriends character. I strongly recommend that you find out more on this subject.

        1. Boyfriend is a victim too. Both he and LW had mixed feelings about whether to go to the police. Both eventually went. Let’s not blame the (victimised) guy too much for having some doubts along the way to doing the right thing; he still did it.

          1. Eeh, he went once she was already at the station and he had no choice because the cops would have asked him for the tapes anyways. That’s not too many brownie points. I dunno, but if I was sexually assaulted and my significant other cared more about not ruining my assaulter’s life than s/he did about having my back – even if later s/he changed their mind… yeah, there’d be some major broken trust. I mean, LW will be going through the wringer as is for the foreseeable future; maybe it’s not the best time to also dump the bf, but… that’s something I’d remember. Fiance isn’t even a friend of his, bf just didn’t want “some guy” to face the penalty for his sexually predatory behavior – even when it victimized bf’s girlfriend.

            That’s a pretty huge breach of loyalty from someone who should be on your side.

          2. Again: Boyfriend was sexually assaulted too. Panicked has said that their first thought was that the cameras were set up to record HIM. There is footage of him, because they were both in the same bathroom. He is probably feeling pretty gross and violated right now too.

            Just because he’s a man doesn’t mean he wasn’t assaulted. And just because he’s a man doesn’t mean he has to prove his not-a-rape-culture-supporter credentials immediately after having been a co-victim of a sexual violation. Women are not the only ones who shouldn’t be put on trial for not being a ‘perfect victim.’

            Men are also victims, also vulnerable, also imperfect human beings. He is not the guilty party here, any more than LW is. Both reacted like normal victims: they were confused and had mixed feelings. This is not cool, guys.

        2. Wow, go easy! The boyfriend is a victim in this too don’t forget, and, like the LW, it’s completely understandable if he has doubts or his emotions and logic are a bit all over the place, especially in the immediate aftermath. That stance seems to have been just one brief part in a process of him working through what to do (in the same way that when the boyfriend initially wanted to go to the police, the LW wasn’t sure), and in the end he came through and supported the LW in the decision to report.

          1. Yes, this. People very often change their minds back and forth while working through a difficult decision; it’s kind of how we try ideas on for size and see which we can live with. And people under stress often end up fighting with each other because stress impedes our ability to use our normal conflict-resolution skills. These things are much more about the situation than about Boyfriend’s worth as a person. When bad things smack into us, we stagger about and bump into some bad ideas before we find our feet again.

            If entertaining the wrong idea for a while and then changing your mind makes someone a bad person, well, sign me up, and probably everyone I’ve ever met along with me. People get things wrong sometimes. Surely it’s better to judge people by the decisions they take – and his decision was good.

            (Actually, now I think of it, Boyfriend is kind of a case-in-point about the difference between a man who shouldn’t be judged for a ‘mistake’ and a man who fairly could be.

            Boyfriend: came up with the idea of going to the police, had some second thoughts because he felt a pang at the idea of jailing a person, had a fight with his girlfriend about it, thought better of it, decided to stand by her, went to the police.

            He fits the ‘Nobody’s perfect, we shouldn’t be judged by our mistakes’ profile. He meant well, got stressed out by the fact that it was impossible to make everyone safe and happy, had a wobble, righted himself, did the decent thing.

            Fiance: deliberately, repeatedly filmed naked people who trusted him without their consent, tried to blame an innocent man when caught, lied his ass off to a friend he’d violated who only wanted to believe the best of him.

            He does not fit that profile. He meant ill and did wrong, repeatedly, on purpose.

            One of these men is looking better than his mistakes. The other is not.)

          2. He did not support her decision. He came to the police when she was already there. That is why they need to talk.

        3. Easy there. Remember that going to the police was the boyfriend’s idea. Originally, LW was against it. This whole thing was a shock, and they’re both reacting like people in shock react. Now they’re pulling together. Let’s hope that dealing with this helps them clarify their values for themselves and each other. It sounds like they will come out with this with a much deeper understanding of how our culture excuses sex crimes and how they don’t want any part of that aspect of our culture. They both sound like very kind, compassionate people who now have a stronger commitment to telling the truth when it needs to be told even when the truth will hurt someone.

          1. +1
            Let’s not harass LW’s boyfriend for not knowing how to react to a violation like this one. Society is shitty enough to male victims of sexual abuse, it’s not our place to make it shittier for him.

    9. Good for you! I didn’t want to pressure you, but I think you did the right thing in going to the police. Take care of you.

    10. LW, you definitely did the right thing. You’ve also done the right thing by your friend: if this enables her to get fiance out of her life, she will be better off. No one deserves to be married to an abusive creep like that.

    11. LW, you did an amazing thing amid a bog of awful.

      I’m so so sorry that it’s not just the Terrible Thing That Happened but now the Thing Friends Are Angry with ME About Because I Refuse to Ignore the Terrible Thing That Happened.

      You have a lot of Jedi support, and I hope you can find some good in-person support too!

    12. Brava! That took guts!

      Please remember, If Fiancé ends up in jail: *he* ruined his life. Not you, not your reporting it, not the police, not the judge, and not the jury. He is solely responsible for fucking up his life. He had a choice and he chose to commit a crime and violate other people.

      I hope your BF comes to her senses and decides to leave him, but if she doesn’t all you can do is tell her you’ll be there for her if and when she does.

    13. Hey, pass this on to your boyfriend if you think it’s needed: If you start having second thoughts again on the grounds that continuing to assist the police would “ruin” whatsisname’s life, please keep in mind that all he had to do in order not to ruin his own life was not spy on people and not assault people. That’s a pretty low bar, and he decided to try to slither under it. Let consequences ensue.

      Also, if either of you has second thoughts on the grounds that whatsisname is going to be a dad now and what about BF, please take this from a survivor of childhood sexual abuse: Sooner or later, and almost certainly by the time that child hits puberty, Sleez will have done something to them. Assaulted them, made them watch his home movies, at the very least taught them that being a voyeur and trying to Trump women is normal.

      1. It sounds horrible, but this is true. He is not fit to be a parent and the (potential) kid would be seriously better off with him somewhere far away.

      2. Boyfriend was assaulted too, and society is shit for giving men any kind of framework or resources to handle that.
        He’s very likely to feel a lot of different ways about this, and that’s okay.

        I hope LW and Boyfriend have access to therapy to help process all this.

    14. I may have shed a few tears reading this. I’m so proud of you. Please take good care of yourself! Thank you for the update.

    15. I’m proud of you, LW. That was a tough thing to do, but it was the right thing!

      Please make sure to do something for your own self-care and be gentle on yourself. We’re rooting for you!

    16. You did SO GREAT, LW! Proud of you, and I hope you continue to take good care of yourself. Sorry you are having to deal with this, but it sounds like you are doing the right thing.

    17. Hi LW, glad to hear you’re … well, at least reasonably safe. Sorry, and not surprised, that this is playing merry hob with your anxiety levels. You’re going through something horribly stressful, and of course you feel all at sixes and sevens.

      I think your boyfriend’s findings confirm that you were right to go to the police. Fiance has victimised at least three women – and as that’s only one memory card’s worth of evidence, there are probably more victims. And he lied right to you about it, so I think from now you can be pretty confident that you have no obligation whatsoever to believe a word out of his lying mouth. He deceitfully filmed you, then he tried to deceive you about having other victims. He has exercised charm against you for a decade, but he is not an honest man. You gave him the benefit of the doubt because you are a good person. You are now completely free to withdraw that benefit of the doubt, for ever if you see fit.

      I feel bad for your friend. At this point she’s pretty much in full collusion with him (begging you not to tell the police, not warning Jenny before going on holiday with the known holiday-cameraman), which suggests she’s been under pressure from him for a long time. And if she’s pregnant, of course that’s going to make everything more complicated. (Assuming she is. It might be a false alarm. Fiance might be pressuring her to invent a pregnancy to discourage you from reporting his sorry backside.)

      But assuming she is – ouch. She will need support. And that will be be hard and challenging and tiring, so make sure you take care of yourself while you’re at it and don’t push yourself to do more than you can. And if you want advice on how to support her – well, I’m not the one to give it, but I bet there are people on this thread who could steer you right.

      The pregnancy is a nasty complication. But that’s not your fault, and really, considering what a fully-fledged sexual offender this guy is, if she goes ahead and has the baby it might actually be safer for the kid to have his or her father’s propensities on the official record in advance. At least then there will be a paper trail if, perish the thought, concerns arise for the child’s safety from him.

      Get yourself some help. This rotten guy has taken terrible advantage of your friendship and loyalty, and you’re probably in for a rough time as you process that understanding. Give yourself time to feel different things, let it take as long as it takes, don’t blame yourself.

      I’m not going to say ‘You had no choice but to go to the police.’ That would facile; you could have chosen otherwise. What I will say is this: you were put in a situation where there was no nice choice you could have taken. You could report your best friend’s fiance to the police for crimes he unequivocally committed, or you could have let a serial sex offender carry on and almost certainly victimise more people. I believe you made the right choice, the least bad choice, but it wasn’t a nice choice. That is because the nice choice was forcibly taken away from you the moment he decided to prey on you. The nice choice was ‘Have a healthy friendship with a trustworthy man,’ and he took that one off the table. After that, there was no choice that wouldn’t be painful and morally complicated and the kind of horrible choice that nice people don’t like taking.

      But that was not your fault. On the days where you feel that you made a bad choice, just remember that this is because he took away all the good ones.

      1. “I’m not going to say ‘You had no choice but to go to the police.’ That would facile; you could have chosen otherwise. What I will say is this: you were put in a situation where there was no nice choice you could have taken. You could report your best friend’s fiance to the police for crimes he unequivocally committed, or you could have let a serial sex offender carry on and almost certainly victimise more people. I believe you made the right choice, the least bad choice, but it wasn’t a nice choice. That is because the nice choice was forcibly taken away from you the moment he decided to prey on you. The nice choice was ‘Have a healthy friendship with a trustworthy man,’ and he took that one off the table. After that, there was no choice that wouldn’t be painful and morally complicated and the kind of horrible choice that nice people don’t like taking.”

        Thank you for saying this. It’s a very good way to frame it.

      2. I would half wonder if Creep did something to sabotage his fiance’s birth control – too soon I know for it to be in direct reaction to this incident but it still seems rather convenient she is so bound to him at this point. (it’s also possible she wanted to have kids and didn’t want to wait for a big wedding though that’s generally not the norm)

      3. BF does not need support *from the LW* or any of her fiance’s other victims. If she needs support, she can and should get it from a therapist or from groups that have resources for crime victims and those affected by crimes.

        BF has shown loud and clear that she is willing to collaborate with a sex predator, if that means getting what she wants. She is willing to allow Jenny, an unknowing victim, to go on a trip with Creeplord. She is using a maybe-pregnancy (which she may have invented just that very moment) to try and shame the LW into keeping silent. She is pretending that a man who was willing to blame an innocent person for his own behavior, and who repeatedly lied about the magnitude of what he did, can be trusted to see to his own therapy and good behavior in the future.

        Whether LW wants to write BF off forever or no, LW should NOT be offering the BF support.

        1. Not if she sticks on Fiance’s side, no; that would be ‘more than you can’ territory. I’m just thinking it’s possible she’ll slowly start to decompress from him once she gets some space to think.

          1. Yeah, her behavior isn’t cool but it’s also clearly rooted in panic and denial–completely reasonable, normal reactions to having the bombshell of “the person I love the most in the world is a sex predator who preyed on my friend and me.” You feel responsible and guilty when you admit to yourself you were duped into trusting a monster. People go to crazy lengths to avoid confronting that guilt.

            Give her some time to come to terms with the situation. As much as LW is reeling, best friend’s mental state is that compounded by a thousand.

            I had a family member accused of a serious sex crime; it turned out it never even happened but the first few weeks after his arrest was the worst period of my life. Nothing made sense; I didn’t know what was real; I was going insane trying to remember things from my childhood, trying to figure out if I’d blocked something out or ever seen a warning sign. I couldn’t trust my own memories and judgement. It took me weeks to calm down enough to consider the facts rationally. The moment that kind of news falls into your lap, you grasp at every straw you can reach.

            So…. give Best Friend a break. No, she’s not handling it great, but she’s also not handling it wrong. She is grieving and desperate. Hopefully she will come to her senses, but she needs time. She is a victim too.

          2. Yes, finding out that somebody you love and were going to marry (and maybe have a child with) is a vile predator is damaging and horrible and panic-inducing. It is not the mental state of that predator’s victims ‘multiplied by a thousand’. And doing a shitty thing out of panic and denial and guilt is still doing a shitty thing. (In this case, multiple shitty things.)

            Here’s another anecdote about how people react when they’re in panic and denial:

            A friend of mine was a military attorney. Early in his career, his job involved prosecuting servicemembers who were accused of sexually abusing family members; the vast majority of the time, this meant a serviceman who was accused of sexually assaulting a daughter or stepdaughter. And my friend was trained very early on: you cannot rely on the child’s mother to assist, you need to build up your case as soon as you can. Because it was very, very common for this to happen: when Mom found out that Dad/Stepdad was likely to be dishonorably discharged, and thus lose not only his paycheck but his benefits and pension, suddenly she would march the child right back into announce that the girl said she had made it all up and wanted to drop the charges.

            In one case, a Deaf girl’s mother ‘interpreted’ her daughter as saying that she had been lying and didn’t want her dad to go to jail over it. Mom didn’t know that the attorneys had their own ASL interpreter present and knew that the girl was signing exactly the opposite.

            These women were having the completely reasonable, normal reaction of panic and denial in response to a bombshell – and also to facing severe harm to their families’ financial future. That doesn’t mean they deserve a break or that their mental state was their daughters’ ” compounded by a thousand”.

      4. I too wondered if Fiancé was telling Best Friend to say she’s pregnant (or if she came up with that on her own). I hope she can get away from this creep and with as few complications as possible. Regardless of whether she’s pregnant or not, it doesn’t mean Fiancé should get a pass for his actions, which is what I think he is trying to do. The timing of the pregnancy reveal strikes me as convenient, and a bit manipulative. It’s not a great time to bring it up to LW, that’s for sure, considering she’s dealing with the fallout of being sexually violated. I do feel bad for BF, but that has to be tempered by the fact she’s also making a lot of very bad choices (like defending a sex offender and letting poor Jenny be unwittingly exposed to her sexual abuser). BF will need support, all right, but she cannot have her cake and eat it too by basically siding with a man who sexually violated her best friend and also expect her best friend to support *her*.

        Panicked, you were SO right to go to the cops. You are kickass and brave. I know I would have been scared to go to the cops, but despite being scared and unsafe, you handled this shitty situation with dignity and courage. If I’m ever in a situation like yours, I will remember you and your bravery. You deserve a Captain Awkward medal of valor.

    18. I know it was difficult, LW, but you absolutely did the right thing. You are a superhero. When I read the part about Jenny, I shuddered even more. I hope you can find some peace of mind in time.

      1. Well done you! I’m sorry for the fight you and your boyfriend had but hopefully it was just a delayed reaction on his part – sounds like he was supportive in the end. Either way, you did the absolute right thing and I wish you the best of luck and support as you work through this. Reach out to others in your life – your other friends or family (bio or chosen!) will want to be there for you.

    19. LW, I’m so glad we heard from you! And I’m so glad you went to the police–as you say, this is particularly worrying because there are potentially other victims who don’t even know they’re victims, and I think it was terrifically honorable of you to put your own friendships at risk for the sake of the other potential victims.

      One thing, re: ruining his life–

      Something I’ve noticed over the years is that the “you shouldn’t go to the authorities because you’ll ruin his life” thing comes up always for matters of abuse and sexual assault, and almost never for other crimes.

      So for example, let’s say that I was a thief, and I broke into my neighbor’s apartment, and she came back and caught me in the process of stealing her television. Let’s say she then called the cops on me. Can you imagine a scenario where someone said “why are you calling the cops on that poor woman, do you want to ruin her life just for stealing a television?”

      Or let’s say I was angry at the owner of a local restaurant, and at night I came back to the restaurant and broke a window and filled the place with gasoline-soaked rags and then threw a lit match in there, and the place went up like a torch. And someone ID’ed me and I was arrested for arson. Can you imagine a scenario where someone said “why are you calling the cops on that poor woman, do you want to ruin her life just for burning down a building?”

      And yet for some reason, “Why are you calling the cops on that poor man, do you want to ruin his life just for taking naked video of an unknown–but definitely at least four–number of people without their knowledge or consent?” (and variations on it, all having to do with abuse and sexual crimes) comes up over. and over. and over. And the collective effect of that is that societally we seem to be saying “Why would you wreck his life over something so minor? All he did was violate other human beings and destroy their sense of safety. It’s not like he did something truly heinous, like lift a television.”

      I don’t know if this is helpful to you, LW, but I hope it is. It has been helpful to me in a lot of ways, because (speaking as an abuse survivor myself) I would much rather have someone steal my television than record me naked or otherwise violate my boundaries–and it has been extremely clarifying to see the way societally we would treat the TV stealing much more seriously.

      Anyway. You did good, LW, not that you need me to tell you that. And I hope you know how many of us are here cheering you on.

      1. This so much, plus:

        Reporting abuse pretty much never ACTUALLY serves to ruin the abuser’s life. If only it did, there might be less abuse, but it really really doesn’t, as current events in the world painfully underline.

        Obvious but unspoken reason is that abuse and sex crimes -against women- are systematically devalued by the patriarchy for a whole host of reasons, ranging from “that woman was his to abuse” to “women lie about abuse” to “boys will be boys” to “I want the right to commit abuse too” and myriad others.

        Bottom line is SMASH THE PATRIARCHY, one consequence for abusers at a time.

        All the soft feathers in the world for you, LW.

      2. Yes! Yes! Yes! I have noticed too.

        You can add “you shouldn’t say anything/tell anyone/report because you’ll ruin his life”, because even if authorities are not involved, someone will surely try to silence abuse victims to protect the abuser’s “life”. Because, obviously, the victim’s life is not as important.

      3. FWIW, I’ve actually seen this very narrative levied at women who report property crimes, too. It seems more of an issue regarding who is calling the police than anything.

        1. I’ve seen this response when people with less social capital/income try to file charges against people with more social capital/income. See also: rich people who don’t do time for vehicular manslaughter or whatever. It very much has to do with social power and who’s marginalized. In the case of the vast majority of sex crimes it’s a man attacking a woman, so the woman really needs to be mindful of his problems, feelings, promising future, etc. He has so much to lose; who cares what she’s already lost.

      4. Oh God, yes. I was molested by an adult relative growing up and when I got my siblings together and told them about it and warned them that he might be a danger to their daughters. His son agreed that he had to be brought to task but I was told that it had to be handled with extreme delicacy and tact. I just thought: “Why? In what way was that glassbowl handling *me* with delicacy and tact when he was groping my 12 year old self and sticking his hands down my pants?”
        So, I just made an appointment for everybody at my therapist’s office and called up the molester + wife (who, of course stood by him and insisted I was lying) and f*ck “tact and delicacy”!

        1. I’m aghast with your relatives for doing that. I hope that creep didn’t hurt anyone else and that your therapist brought to task anyone who dared mention the need for “tact” in dealing with him.

      5. I hear this 100%, and it actually resonates very much with me personally as I’ve had those thoughts about “ruining” someone’s life by reporting them. But I do want to note that things get different when you know the criminal personally. If someone robs you, and they’re related/best friend’s finace, there’s a tendancy to try to want to resolve that issue amongst yourselves without involving the police. Not sure if that logic would go all the way to arson though!

    20. Thank you for writing back. It sounds like you did the right (hard) thing for the right (hard) reasons and I hope you can be gentle and kind with yourself as this process moves on.

    21. Frankly, I think your friend is going to have to be collateral damage, here. I’m side-eyeing the hell out of her sudden statement that she “might” be pregnant after begging you not to tell. That smacks of manipulation. And then to say, “Oh, you can’t report it because we have a vacation planned with one of my finance’s victims!” Those are some very thin straws she’s grasping at. And then following it up by saying she had no plans to tell Jenny? Sweetie, this is not someone who has your best interests at heart. Or Jenny’s. Or your boyfriends. Her agenda is focused on covering it up, pretending it never happened and protecting her image/current state of her life. She has already begun the coverup if she’s planning to travel with someone her fiancé has victimized and pretend everything is OK.

      And I’m sorry you and your boyfriend are fighting but you ABSOLUTELY did the right thing. You don’t back off of doing the right thing because it’s too “messy.” You’re not ruining the creep’s life. HE ruined his own life! HE chose this behavior. Regardless of any compulsion, addiction or mental illness, what he did was WRONG. He hurt people. He has to answer for it. People have to be protected from him.

      YOU DID THE RIGHT THING. You are so brave and SO strong. And I’m so very proud of you.

      1. This.
        LW, if your friend continues to try to downplay or cover it up, or pretend it didn’t happen, she is not safe for you to be around.

        Whether she’s doing it because she is as creepy as her fiance* or because she is in denial or a victimized mental state doesn’t matter: what matters for your safety and sanity is whether or not she is trying to deny the reality of what happened to you. What matters right now is *what* she does, not why she does it.
        “I love you but I cannot be around you if you keep trying to deny or downplay his creepy criminal acts.”
        You can be there for her if she gets away from him, but if she continues to try to pretend it’s okay, you can distance yourself to protect yourself.

        *I know you don’t think she’s creepy, and she probably isn’t, but you didn’t think he was creepy either.

    22. Oh, I am so glad you did another update, Panicked. And that the police are treating you well. The point about not putting your best friend know you’ve gone to the police so she cannot compromise herself is well taken and I see it as generous on the part of the police (I’m not at all sure that such protection would be offered by every police department in the US–many would, I believe, would be salivating at the thought of an opportunity to arrest both).

      You didn’t blow up the creeplord’s life. He did that all by himself.

      Please be kind and careful with yourself, this sort of thing is a huge shock and you may well feel more aftershocks as you uncover more of the ways this has impacted you. It is completely normal and usual to vary day by day in how you cope with it. At least for me, in relationship to something that happened to me, I came to have more and more good days; I believe you will as well.

    23. I’ve never posted before (I think) but I just wanted to say you are doing amazingly well and I am sending you jedi support from all the way across the world + you are super brave and strong, and thank you for letting us know what happened.

    24. LW, you are amazing and brave, and I’m glad the commenters here were able to support and comfort you.

      All the best going forward. You have a virtual Team Me here if you need it.

    25. LW, anxiety sucks so much, but you are brave in spite of it.

      Jenny deserves to know that he’s not safe. Jenny (like you) deserves to be safe.

    26. ❤ you're a champ! You're not responsible for any of this. One thing that has sometimes helped clients of mine is being reminded that you're not responsible for the criminal justice system either. This was the best and only tool available to you to help protect people and address this awful situation. He is responsible for his decisions, and the system is responsible for its processes: You are not the cause of any of it. You did a good, hard thing. I hope you are being kind to yourself!

    27. I’m echoing what everyone has already said – you are brave, you did the right thing, please be gentle with yourself, I’m sending you good vibes for you and boyfriend to be gentle to each other, and feeling confused is totally normal but YOU DID THE RIGHT THING.

      IF it’s true she’s pregnant, this predator will almost certainly eventually violate the child if there’s nothing on the record about his crimes. IMO, you absolutely did the right thing.

      Sending you Jedi Hugs and lots and lots of good vibes. REALLY great to hear the police are treating you well. Avail yourself of any resources they can provide to you.

    28. Go you! It is incredibly badass of you to go to the police and to stand up for yourself and everyone else that creeplord violated. Please do something nice for yourself, you’re doing great and you deserve some self care.

      Because it can’t hurt to hear this repeatedly, YOU ABSOLUTELY CATEGORICALLY DID NOT RUIN FIANCE’S LIFE. He and only he did that by doing terrible violating things to many people, on purpose, over years. The entirely predictable and obvious consequences of his actions are his fault and his alone.

      I’m so sorry you’re going through all this, LW. Please don’t feel bad about missing the person you thought fiance was. It must be awful finding out that someone close to you was never actually who you thought they were. And I’m so sorry your best friend tried to manipulate you into not telling anyway, that’s awful. You are super not wrong if you feel hurt/angry/furious/betrayed or any other feeling.

      While I’m at it, you should also not feel the least bit bad about having panic attacks. You’ve been through a serious traumatic event, it is totally normal to be traumatized when something traumatic happens to you. You did great and you will be okay and you should be really proud of yourself for doing such a hard thing under such unbelievably shitty circumstances. Go you!

    29. LW, sending you the biggest of Jedi hugs. Good job being so brave. This is going to be really hard, but know that we all have your back and are rooting for you. And I know many other people have said this, but this is Not. Your. Fault. No matter what fiance might say, this is no way something you are to blame for, and no matter what consequences he goes through they are HIS consequences that HE chose when he decided to violate other people.

    30. LW I am in awe of you. There are so many people who would not have been able to do what you did. I know this experience will shape the person you become, and I hope that in your self-talk from this point on, you remember how many people you have protected in this action – yourself, first and foremost. I’m sure you’ll have doubts and you may be tempted to fly past all the praise you’re receiving now from people in this group with thoughts like “Yeah, but I’m not that brave because they don’t know about [xyz thoughts/past actions/current deep secrets].” Just please remember that in addition to everything else you are, you are this. And this is a thing that makes the world a better place. It is full of love and bravery. I’m glad I share a world with you.

      Side note: Best Friend is not safe right now. I hope one day she can be safe again, but right now she’s not. Do not share information with her. If she calls to confront you about going to the police, even if she’s understanding/in tears/pulling at your heartstrings in ways that a best friend can because she knows you so well and you’ve shared so much… Assume that anything you tell her will be used against you by Predator. For now, at least.

      She is a victim. But victims can also be collaborators, as your boyfriend very nearly was when he had second thoughts about going to the police. She has demonstrated her willingness to protect Predator over you, over Jenny, over her parents, over any other victims. She needs to demonstrate otherwise before she earns your trust again. You are doing the best you can for her by handling this without giving her the chance to involve herself any more deeply than she already is. You are acting with love. But do not trust her on this, at least for a little while.

      All my love and respect to you, dearest LW.

    31. Please, please please tell Jenny. Or if you can’t bring yourself to do it, call the cips handling the case, explain she’s already been victimized by this guy and that you just found out they’re planning a weekend together, and ask them to notify and interview her like…..now.


    32. Thank you so much for updating us. I can’t get your letter out of my mind, it’s just such a shocking awful thing fiance did to all of you.

      I had some more random thoughts (like I said, I keep thinking about this) that I hope you don’t mind if I share. I’ll do it in outline form so it’s shorter:

      -If you haven’t done this already, please consider asking the cops to search your friend’s parents’ cabin and house, as well as any other place you think fiance might have put cameras. (I know you already told the police about the pub.) Also please consider letting any other possible victims know about this if you can. Your friend clearly will sacrifice their safety and privacy to her fiance. If this feels too intrusive to you or dangerous in any way, consider giving a contact list to the police and let them handle it. In fact, that might be the best way all around.

      -Your best friend isn’t reliable or trustworthy right now. She won’t be until she’s well away from fiance and she’s had lots of time to grieve. That could take a long, long time (like years). She could go back and forth for months or longer. She could leave him, go back to him, leave him again, have that “one night” with him, ad infinitum. Think of her as a character in Invasion of the Bodysnatchers. It’s as though an alien has taken over her body. The woman you’ve known since you were 13 has been gaslighted and she is not the same person. I know you love her. Keep loving her. I know you want to trust her. Don’t. Trusting her is like trusting a baby with a loaded gun. She’s going to say and do a lot of nonsense for a long time, so keep telling yourself “that’s the Stockholm syndrome talking.” Do not try to find the logic in her. Do not be swayed by any nonsense. The friend you know isn’t there right now.

      -As for your friend’s possible pregnancy. In her mind, that probably translates to “consequences for the fiance might also hurt the baby.” The opposite is true. I hesitate to share this article because it is a very difficult read, but it’s an excellent, excellent essay on what it’s like to be the daughter of a voyeur. If you read it, you might need to pause for deep breaths and self care. My hope is that it can offer you (and maybe your friend) support around how pretending this isn’t happening is very bad for children and other living things. Lots of trigger warnings here: https://www.buzzfeed.com/michelletea/my-stepfather-the-peeping-tom?utm_term=.ohBnq7pxKG#.we7AypPw28

      -Since reading your letter, I’ve read a little about voyeurism online. Everything I’ve read gives me the impression that this is a chronic, long-term, difficult-to-recover-from issue. In other words, even if fiance were sincere about getting help, that help might take years to effect a change in his behavior. But it’s unlikely he’s sincere – he was caught, he lied about it being the stepdad, he lied about when he’d tell your friend about it, he lied that it was “only you”, and then he tried to elicit sympathy by saying he’ll get help. Plus he’s managed to turn your friend into his enabler, which makes it even less likely he would’ve gotten help or made effective progress. So if your friend starts to wear you down with “he was just about to turn this around and you ruined it by going to the cops” please know that the exact opposite is true. It’s only after experiencing clear consequences that he might even begin to stop this behavior. And maybe not even then. Don’t fall for the illusion that this is just a blip or a quick-fix issue. You going to the cops has increased the chances that he won’t hurt anyone else, and has really increased the chances that your friend can get her life back.

      Lots of admiration and respect for you and your boyfriend both. I hope you feel better soon.

      1. Please don’t ask the cops to search your friend’s parents’ house, or any house other than your own, without talking to the parents first. They might have unrelated reasons for not wanting a police search of their home, and “no, I’d rather not” is a lot easier to say to your daughter’s friend than to a police officer. Some people just don’t want strangers going through all their stuff, which is entirely reasonable. They might have something like small quantities of marijuana, or they might have naked photos of each other that they really don’t want anyone else to see (a lot more people are happy making such photos for their partners than like the idea of anyone else seeing those photos).

        You can’t ask them to have the cops search their home without saying why. That means you can also tell them “this happened, there might be more cameras hidden in your house, I’d recommend either doing a thorough search yourself or getting a professional or the cops in to do it for you.” Yes, a creep tried to frame them for a nasty privacy-invading crime; that shouldn’t cost them their own privacy. The police have been kind and respectful so far; that doesn’t mean the in-laws wouldn’t worry about being mocked, or that they wouldn’t worry that the police would think of them as accomplices rather than victims.

        1. The parents’ house is the scene of the crime so the police will presumably want to visit it without anyone asking them to do so (not that they can search without permission or a warrant but they will probably want the parents to give permission). In which case, it might be an idea to give the parents a heads-up.

    33. Everyone’s already passionately thanked you for updating and commended you for being brave enough to go to the cops, but I’d like to contribute also. I hope this brings you closure and saves future victims.

    34. Thank you for the update. You absolutely did the right thing.

      I just want to say for the record that I hate the “do you want to ruin his life” excuse for not reporting someone’s illegal, damaging behavior. That person’s life is *already* ruined. Bringing their behavior to light and warning others about his trustworthiness is providing the opportunity to un-ruin it, it gives a chance for them to change and be healed. Even if we take the most optimistic scenario that he’s genuinely sorry for being such a shit-heel and wants to change, he won’t change without something huge like an arrest, not if it’s truly a compulsion. Everyone in his life keeping it quiet and his fiancee staying with him despite the behavior only assures him that he can continue to ruin his and other people’s lives without consequence.

    35. LW I know you are scared, uncomfortable and going through a tough time. But I want you to know you are as superhero. You are Harry Potter, you are Frodo and Sam and the rest of the fellowship, you are Katniss and Arya and Khalisi. You are the hero we all grow up reading

    36. Thank you so much for the update. You did the right thing. Be kind to yourself, and let yourself accept this. I’m so sorry that this happened to you.

    37. LW, you did the right thing by outing this monster. And this guy already ruined his own damn life. I wish you all the support in the world in the coming days. You are a good person.

    38. I’ve been away and am late catching up on this, so I have the huge privilege of reading your letter and your awesomely amazing update on the same day, and I just have to say this:

      LW, You ROCK! I would like to award you the golden lamington for courage and general all around being-an-awesome-human-being. I hope you and your BF get all the help you need. Since you mentioned you have depression and anxiety and are in Australia I assume you know about accessing government funded mental health support through your GP, but if not feel free to PM me for some links.

    39. You’ve been so unbelievably brave and strong. I can’t imagine the internal turmoil you must be feeling right now – (possibly) sacrificing your relationship with your best friend for the safety of others is nothing short of commendable. Please know that dozens of strangers in the internet are here to suport you, keep us updated if you can/want xxx

  76. Okay, so normally I’m very big on the “don’t call the cops if you don’t feel it’s the right choice for you,” but in this case GIRL, YOU IN DANGER!

    Think about it: he tried to frame the stepdad for these crimes when he thought he could get away with it. Now, your boyfriend has evidence against him – what will he do to you and your boyfriend to protect himself? There is a very real possibility that he will strike first and try to blame this on you and your boyfriend. Even if he doesn’t call the cops he will definitely do something to ruin your credibility. Yeah, those are the actions of a terrible person, but so is filming people in the bathroom and blaming someone else’s dad.

    Never underestimate the capacity of someone to lash out when threatened. This person is an active threat to you and your boyfriend! Go to the cops now while you’re still safe!

    If you’re worried about how your friend will feel when she finds out, imagine how she’ll feel when she finds more tapes on her 10th wedding anniversary. Imagine when someone else reports it, how she’ll feel in court being tried as an accomplice because after 10 years no one believes she wasn’t helping him – or because after having invested so much of her life into him, she felt she had no choice but to help cover it up. Imagine her losing custody of any children she has to CPS once this all blows up. Imagine her then, life shot to shit, looking at you, knowing you knew for 10 years and didn’t tell her. Imagine that conversation. There’s no good way out of this situation, but the longer it sits, the worse it’ll get. If you love your friend, protect her from unknowingly marrying a sexual predator who tried to frame her stepdad.

    But also, this is about you, and the fact that so long as you hold this secret, you are a threat to the fiance and he will take steps to counter that. Protect yourself, and go to the cops.

    Also once it’s over maybe talk to your boyfriend about the fact that he shouldn’t have kept the videos from you.

    But seriously, go to the cops.

    1. Okay, so double-post there (can someone delete the other one?) and also posted just before LW posted. So, following up to say: LW, you 100% did the right thing. I’m sure it hurt like hell, but it only would have gotten worse if you had covered it up. How would you have felt knowing that Jenny was going on another vacation with that guy, and that he probably would have filmed her this time too? How would Jenny have felt if you had done nothing and let that happen? How would you have felt watching that kid grow up (if your friend is telling the truth about the pregnancy) wondering if the Dad was filming him or her, or his or her friends? There was no painless choice, but you definitely chose the best option.

      Be kind to yourself, be kind to your friend (as much as you can – her being in a bad spot doesn’t make her support of him right) and best of luck to you as you get through this. Remember, you didn’t ruin this guy’s life. This guy chose to be a sexual predator, and that choice is what’s now biting him in the ass. He did this to himself – you just did what you had to do to protect yourself and others. It’s not your fault that he chose to do this. He only has himself to blame for his actions and their consequences. This is on him.

  77. Okay, so normally I’m very big on the “don’t call the cops if you don’t feel it’s the right choice for you,” but in this case GIRL, YOU IN DANGER!

    Think about it: he tried to frame the stepdad for these crimes when he thought he could get away with it. Now, your boyfriend has evidence against him – what will he do to you and your boyfriend to protect himself? There is a very real possibility that he will strike first and try to blame this on you and your boyfriend. Even if he doesn’t call the cops he will definitely do something to ruin your credibility. Yeah, those are the actions of a terrible person, but so is filming people in the bathroom and blaming someone else’s dad.

    Never underestimate the capacity of someone to lash out when threatened. This person is an active threat to you and your boyfriend! Go to the cops now while you’re still safe!

    If you’re worried about how your friend will feel when she finds out, imagine how she’ll feel when she finds more tapes on her 10th wedding anniversary. Imagine when someone else reports it, how she’ll feel in court being tried as an accomplice because after 10 years no one believes she wasn’t helping him – or because after having invested so much of her life into him, she felt she had no choice but to help cover it up. Imagine her losing custody of any children she has to CPS once this all blows up. Imagine her then, life shot to shit, looking at you, knowing you knew for 10 years and didn’t tell her. Imagine that conversation. There’s no good way out of this situation, but the longer it sits, the worse it’ll get. If you love your friend, protect her from unknowingly marrying a sexual predator who tried to frame her stepdad.

    But also, this is about you, and the fact that so long as you hold this secret, you are a threat to the fiance and he will take steps to counter that. Protect yourself, and go to the cops.

    Also once it’s over maybe talk to your boyfriend about the fact that he shouldn’t have kept the videos from you.

    But seriously, go to the cops.

  78. Oh Panicked, I’m so sorry you’re caught up in all of this twisted shit. I’ve read most of the comments and one thing I haven’t seen mentioned – maybe because everything is already scary enough – is the blackmail angle. Creeper may have set up this surveillance system because he’s a disgusting predator. (He IS a disgusting predator.) But one of the consequences of having footage of people doing stuff they think is private is that he then, in theory, could have a way to blackmail and control those people. Most people wouldn’t want ANY footage of them in the bathroom to get out. But people in bathrooms, bathrooms in houses, bathrooms in PUBS, bathrooms in general, sometimes do things that would have even more consequences if they got out than the general stuff we associate with bathrooms.

    I guess I’m saying it’s hard to imagine this creep getting even more scary, but a dude who is willing to do what we already know for a fact he has done may not think twice about also using that footage to blackmail, coerce and threaten the people he has footage of.
    That may not be what he’s about, but then again, it may not NOT be what he’s about, especially if he feels threatened himself. It’s definitely occurred to him, in the long, detailed process of setting up and maintaining a secret bathroom surveillance system.

    And I hate to think about it, but it could potentially be a reason your friend may find it hard to leave him. Note: I am not judging anything (consensual) anyone does in a bathroom. I am judging the hell out of Creeper. But it may be worth thinking about this added layer of coercion and control and take that into account when deciding how to deal with him. This is some scary, twisted, bad shit. Please get some help, in whatever form you feel comfortable with. Police if you feel comfortable, lawyer for your own piece of mind, someone you trust. If your partner is in IT does he know anyone who deals with the security culture side of things that he could trust to get some help?

    I know it’s bad that my mind went right there, but this is a thing that happens. It’s a tactic criminals use, police use it to control dissidents, corporations use it to keep whistleblowers quiet and evil creeps can use it to keep control in relationships.

    THIS GUY IS DANGEROUS. Please don’t meet him and don’t be alone with him.

    I know what it’s like to be worried for a friend you love who’s in a dangerous relationship. And I know what it’s like to be in a dangerous relationship (although not with this particular control mechanism.) If you do decide to talk to your friend I hope she can understand the danger too. Again, I’m so sorry.

  79. Fuck that creep. He is a predator. How many people has he already victimized? How many more will he victimize if you stay silent? He is counting on you to be conflicted and not want to hurt your friend. Go to the police immediately, before he can cover up what he is doing. Otherwise, you are complicit in all his future victimizing.

    1. Fuck your victim-blaming bullshit.
      The only one who is responsible for these crimes is Camera Creep, not the LW. The LW and other victims should speak up only if they decide that that’s what they want to do. The LW can do nothing to prevent the attacks on the future victims of Camera Creep, because LW is not the one attacking them.

    2. Kat, reading “Otherwise, you are complicit in all his future victimizing” really hurts.

      The LW is clearly aware that taking legal action against a sexual assailant often has the result of the victim being blamed (for instance, by being given responsibility in the assailant’s future actions). Being the victim of a sexual assault does not automatically confer super powers on the victim.

      I’m reading this with a bias, of course. My bias is that it took 43 years after I was raped as a 12 year old to tell anyone about it. It took 6 or 7 years before it even occurred to me that the man who raped me might be doing the same sorts of things to other girls. After all, he told me that I was bad and that I was making him do those things to me and I believed him. The LW seems to me to be in a similar state. Her letter reads to me like she’s still in shock, still reeling and her ability to perceive all the possible connotations and possible consequences is still impaired. For instance, I know that I instantly wondered whether this guy was posting creep-porn to the internet, even though the LW didn’t even mention it in her letter–because she hasn’t thought about it yet.

      Telling her she is responsible for the actions of a man she couldn’t control enough to avoid a super-creepy form of sexual assault herself is just wrong. It just is.

  80. Just popping in to say that the other thing that is wigging me out here is the amount of pre-meditation. This isn’t a case of, “whoops! I didn’t realize you were in the shower as I on so innocently walked in to pee.” This is, I purposely went to the store (or the website), intentionally purchased these surveillance cameras with literally no other possible intent than to film people without their knowledge or consent. There’s no mistake, accident, or crime of opportunity here.

    This is calculated and intentional.

    I agree super hard about keeping the footage and also changing your locks.

    Stay safe & maybe schedule something really low key and romantic for just you and boyfriend where this topic of discussion is OFF LIMITS and you just hang out and enjoy each other. Take care of yourselves!

  81. Hello LW – I am guessing from some of your word choices that you are in the UK. Please take a look, if you didn’t follow it in the press at the time, at the trial of the man who murdered Tia Sharp.

    And then please, please, please go to your local police station. This crime which was done to you is sadly on the increase and the police are becoming very good about dealing with it. You thought the person who hurt you was a friend. They were not. They are someone who used the veneer of friendship to hurt you. If you allow them to get away with hurting you, you are not being a friend to yourself. You must put yourself (and your boyfriend) first. You are the victims here, and you should circle the wagons to protect yourself.

    Please, please protect yourself. The police are there to help with things like this. Don’t get derailed by other issues about police trustworthiness right now. Protect yourself.

    Your concern about your mutual friend group is sadly correct. Within a friend group, it is much easier to shun the victim of a crime than a perpetrator, because then the group including both those people doesn’t have to think too much about their own behaviours and what they might have done/not done. But you are a good, civic-minded person and it sounds like you would prefer to get a sexual predator off the streets than pretend everything in your life is jim-dandy.

    If you lose friends over being the victims of a crime they weren’t your friends in the first place.

    There are a lot of people on your side, and good luck to you both.

  82. Just like rapists count on their friends not wanting awkwardness to keep raping, this predator is counting on you to keep silent so he can continue preying. Let it be awkward. Speak up. Don’t let him continue. Let his other victims and potential victims know to protect themselves.

    1. LW might want to consider approaching this man’s employers and showing them the footage of him setting up the camera. Who knows what he’s put in the public washrooms in the bar he works in.

      1. I think LW really shouldn’t do this – she’s a witness in the case, not the police, and it’s important to leave the police free to handle the investigation and not interfere in stuff that doesn’t directly affect her and might damage the investigation or trial.

  83. Unfortunately, there is no really good outcome for the best friend in this situation. If she decides to stick by him, he’ll gradually cause her to lose all her friends. If she breaks up with him there is a strong likelihood that he’d post footage of her on the internet as “revenge porn”.

  84. Dear LW,
    This man is not your friend. Friends don’t violate you.
    He lied to you (by omission) about putting cameras in the bathroom. When you and your boyfriend confronted him, he lied to you again, and tried to blame another for his actions instead of coming clean. He lied to you, once again, when he told you he’d tell your friend. When he couldn’t do anything else to cover the truth (because your boyfriend checked), he told you a society-approved narrative about seeking help, which is also a lie, because he only told you that in order to save his own ass when he was caught red-handed, not because he wants to change himself for the better.

    His ten years of friendship are, once again, a lie.

    Talk to your best friend. Just the two of you. Reconnect, listen, support each other, and don’t trust him as a source of information ever again.

    Lots of jedi hugs if you want them.

    1. After reading the LW’s update, I feel that I should add a big “But only if you want to and you think it’ll be good for you, singular you” after the speaking with best friend part.
      LW, I’d hate for you to lose your best friend over this, but she currently seems more interested in silencing you than in mutual support against this man. Proceed with caution.
      Also, fwiw, if she turns out to be pregnant and wants to keep the baby, she’d be far better off raising them as a single mom than co-parenting with this man. And I say that with the full understanding of how hard it is being a single mom.

      1. To be fair to the best friend, this is all very recent and she’s probably still in shock. LW herself wasn’t sure what the right course of action was at first; everybody needs time to absorb what this guy did to them before they can be expected to think clearly.

        Which isn’t to say that caution is a bad idea, but I’d say it’s pretty early to write Friend off. She’s been massively victimised herself, and Fiance is very manipulative, and she’s highly vulnerable; it would be surprising if she didn’t ping in some wrong directions at first.

        1. Yeah, I meant that LW had to be careful about her friend, and also that’s okay to put herself first. Not advocating for LW burning bridges with her friend, but depending on how her friend acts, it might be unavolidable.

  85. “The people he’s violated don’t have to hang out with him and cheerlead while he does.” THIS THIS THIS THIS THIS.

    He fucked up. He wants to avoid the consequences, with your silence and agreement. This is how stairs go missing. You will go through a lot of other tumultuous emotions because there are consequences when someone fucks up. Those are not your fault. The fault is that he fucked up. You get to decide how much you want to deal with that, how much you want to prevent other people from having to deal with that, etc. Whatever you decide, it’s right for you, do not believe best friend, fiance’, the social group, the family, or anyone else if they tell you otherwise.

    A professional can give you some in-person reassurance, support, and sounding board – you can walk through different scenarios and feelings until you find the ones that feel right without confusing your boyfriend or getting blowback / minimizing it / escalating. This was sexual violence; RAINN might be a place to start.

  86. I feel sympathy and second-hand outrage for everyone in this scenario EXCEPT Creeplord Fiance. He is not the guy you thought you knew, LW. That guy does not exist. This guy is someone OK with committing a violation of great magnitude and trying to blame innocent parties. He has almost certainly violated the privacy of more people than you and your boyfriend. It’s not as if he was scurrying in and out of the bathroom removing those cameras before anyone else went in there, then setting them up again only to video you, and that would not mitigate what he’d done ANYWAY.

    You and your boyfriend need to report it, after backing up what you found so it doesn’t mysterious vanish or get lost, and talk to a lawyer/solicitor and the police BEFORE you have any more contact with your friend. I would recommend not having any contact at all with the Creeplord ever again. He will want to make nice. That is not something he gets to do. I would also tell my friend’s parents what happened, so Creeplord doesn’t get a chance to lie to them and try to blame someone else. Stressing that this could have gotten Jack in serious trouble would not be amiss. Don’t trust that anyone has been told unless you’re the person who tells them yourself.

    Anything your friend knows or has access to (passwords, door keys, car keys, phone codes, whatever) should be changed. You can trust her, but not him, and he’s already skulked around invading people’s privacy. There’s a good chance he invades her privacy habitually, and that anything entrusted to her that wasn’t kept strictly in her head has been compromised. She’s also going to struggle with this issue, because after nine years and plans to marry, she is emotionally invested in this turd of a human being, and human turds don’t go around acting like turds 24/7, or else no one would get engaged to them or be friends with them. So they tend to be very charming and fun and nice on the surface, the better to get away with being turds deep down and doing turdly things like videotaping nonconsenting people in bathrooms, including children and strangers, and almost definitely groping you when you were half-asleep (and probably other times when you were totally asleep).

    Don’t be alone with that guy ever again, LW.

  87. (Wrote this before realising the LW had updated, so obviously some of it is now obsolete in view of the updated info, esp the possibility of continued contact &/or mixed feelings about camera bloke. But decided to post anyway with those bits left in, in case they were useful to someone else in a situation where it was more like that. And respect to LW for excellent handling of the situation so far!)


    Oh LW, this is a really hard situation. Thinking of you and sending love.

    I wanted to talk more about the emotional side. Ladybear used the expression “sudden bereavement”, which is exactly the 2 words I was thinking of as well.

    You know if someone dies suddenly in a car crash, sometimes when a friend hears what’s happened, their first response is something like “but I was only _talking_ to them yesterday!”? The bad news is so out of the blue and sudden, it’s hard to take in. It takes time to get used to the break in continuity from the world as it was up till then.

    I’m not saying this situation is similar in all ways to “someone is suddenly dead in a car crash”. For example, when someone’s dead, there aren’t usually these stressful, difficult decisions about disclosure: usually everyone in their community will soon know they’re dead. And when someone’s dead, most times there aren’t also feelings of betrayal or ickiness.

    But my point is, in terms of the _shock_ and the _loss_, it’s kind of similar. One minute you’re having a lovely weekend with friends, next minute THIS. Literally from one day to the next, this huge upheaval came upon you out of the blue.

    – In emotional terms, part of what has been taken from you is the person you always thought this bloke was.

    People are talking a lot here about how bad it is, what he’s done. That’s important as a reality check – and at the same time, I imagine it might feel hard to reconcile with how you’ve experienced him, because for you up till now, he hadn’t seemed like that kind of person.

    Intellectually, you can probably get that the person you experienced was only one side of him, and that how he’s been treating you is not at all how a true friend would act. But emotionally, it _may_ feel more like “but we’re friends! how can this be happening! nooo! surely some mistake!”.

    Even if you later think “oh actually there _were_ some clues, in hindsight”, it’s clear that up till now, any such clues must have been little and/or in the background. For you he had seemed like a friend. So it’s a shock as well as a loss.

    Over time, you might or might not continue to feel love for him. It’s not wrong to love people even when they’ve done unethical things, even if that love has to be from a big distance, even if it has to be combined with them experiencing the consequences of their unethical actions. There’s a thing Barbara Sher says, about how when you love someone, the love you feel belongs to you.

    And you might be in the same room with him again one day, or you might not – either is valid.

    But what’s certain is that he has been abusing your trust, abusing your partner’s trust, actively lying to you, abusing the trust of his fiancée and her parents, and trying to push off the blame onto an innocent person.

    In your position, I would never trust his word again, which to me would mean it wasn’t a friendship any more, even if some love remained (and even if I still crossed paths with him occasionally). So it would mean accepting a new reality of “hole in my friendship circle where there used to be a friendship”.

    I recommend very strongly that you _don’t_ trust his word again. But if you define friendship differently from me, such that “never trust” can coexist with some kind of less close friendship, nevertheless the nature of it is bound to change: probably something like “cautious thin link, where there used to be full-on trusting happy sharing”. That too is a loss.

    – Part of what has been taken from you (although it was founded in part on an illusion) is the easy happy vibes that you had during the weekend with the four of you hanging out together.

    – Part of what has been taken from you (at least temporarily, _maybe_ forever) is the easy flow of conversation with your best friend. Best case scenario is that in the long run this experience could bring you and her closer – but that’s the long run. Right now, given your two different-shaped connections with camera bloke, his actions have dropped you and her into painful, difficult territory. There’s even the future possibility that you might have to separate from her to make yourself safe from him, if she stays with him.

    – As the situation unfolds, you may also find you’ve “lost” your peace of mind about your best friend. From your letter, we don’t know much yet about how it’s affecting her, and how much he’s been subtly or overtly mistreating her too – but right now, if a friend of mine were in that situation, I would be scared for her and worried about her.

    – Other things taken from you include your ease in bathrooms (at least temporarily), some of your privacy, maybe some of your sense of safety, maybe some of your ability to trust people, all the time & energy you’re going to have to take to process the ramifications of this… and probably more that I haven’t thought of.

    It’s a constellation of different losses, with knock-on effects into other parts of your life.

    Why I wanted to foreground this aspect:

    It’s very possible that some time in the next days, weeks or months, you’re going to find yourself kind of “all over the place” emotionally. And then it can help to put that in context if you remember that those emotions will include GRIEF for what you’ve lost.

    – It wouldn’t be surprising if at some point you felt like crying, or got furious at camera bloke for ruining things, or were suddenly exhausted and wanting it all to go away.

    – It’s likely that what you feel now won’t be the same as what you feel in a week or a month, because grief goes through stages (though it’s a myth that particular stages always come in the same order).

    – You might find you get extra angry or sad about things which don’t even seem to be connected to all this – because sometimes the emotions from one situation will come out in another situation.

    – Or for me, when someone close to me has died, one of the things I’ve noticed is my short term memory is rubbish for a while! It’s a bit like, if my brain was a computer, and grieving is like running a gigantic program to re-map the world in its new configuration, and there’s not a lot of processing power left over for ordinary life.

    Everyone grieves in different ways, and different grief journeys can unfold differently even for the same person, so no-one can predict exactly how you would experience it. Plus in this case, the spooky breach of your privacy is a kind of violation, so that’s part of the emotional mix as well.

    So whatever’s going on with you emotionally, please do give yourself loads of slack & loads of compassion. And please do take advantage of whatever emotional support is available to you, both professional if possible and from friends and family.

    “Ring theory” says “comfort in, dump out”, i.e. the people most affected by something get to lean on the people less affected. I’m guessing probably the chances are you’ll be more affected than your partner is, because this is your best friend and these friendships have gone on years. (although both you and your partner have been abused, and I realise there could be other factors you didn’t mention which make it extra hard for him too.)

    Either way, most likely you’ll both have different emotions coming and going at different times, not necessarily in sync. It’s two unique journeys as well as a shared journey.

    Part of the damage of this sort of violation is the possibility of friendship groups falling out, but please try not to be too much inhibited by that in reaching out for a listening ear. Choose people to tell by how much support they can offer _you_ – the ones who are the best listeners, who won’t make it all about themselves – and if that happens to include people who know camera bloke, that’s OK. You’re not doing a bad thing if you tell other people what’s happened. These are YOUR experiences you’d be sharing, even though they overlap somewhat with other people’s stories. That’s allowed. It isn’t your duty to worry about shielding him at the expense of your own wellbeing.

    (And also, if someone I knew turned out to be up to this kind of stuff, I would want to know. Anyone you tell, you’re helping them to protect themself from a similar horrible experience from him. If you feel you owe loyalty to camera bloke for the sake of your past, be sure to set that in balance with the honesty and loyalty you owe your other friends.)

    Short version: This is a kind of bereavement, you’re likely to be grieving, give yourself loads of room for all the emotions and 100% permission to get support.

    1. Also, a few links with possibly-helpful resources for this kind of situation…

      Susan Silk and Barry Goldman on “Ring Theory”:

      Another “Ring Theory” post, this one with a bit specifically about being two partners dealing with the same situation from different angles:

      The role of anger in healing:

      On not forgiving too quickly:

    2. “Even if you later think “oh actually there _were_ some clues, in hindsight”, it’s clear that up till now, any such clues must have been little and/or in the background. For you he had seemed like a friend. So it’s a shock as well as a loss.”
      Oh yes, this. I get really sick and tired of the people who say “Well, you must have noticed some clue that he was like this beforehand.” Admittedly, they usually put this on the women who get involved with creeps rather than their affected friends, but it really makes me angry that the critics refuse to understand how good people like this are at fooling people. It’s a game to them.

  88. GO TO POLICE in the jurisdiction (s) where this has happened. DO IT NOW! This is too important to not get authorities involved.Make copies of the videos you have. Create a timeline and your recollection of any conversations. The violator of your privacy (and very likely others’) is now on alert and may already be trying to hide or destroy evidence. DO NOT have any further discussions about this with your friend’s fiance or your friend. This is too important to NOT be handled by professionals. If you had found out he was murdering people, what would you do?

    1. The LW chimed in earlier. She has gone to the police. Turns out she wasn’t the only woman he filmed.

  89. Oops, sorry. I did not see that LW had already posted about going to the police several hours ago.

  90. LW – very glad to see your update! This is such a horrible situation for you, many Jedi hugs if that’s OK? Not much to add to the Captain’s great advice and all the useful points the Awkward Army have raised, but whatever you end up doing, it’s just so important that you look after yourself. I’m always banging on about self care, but it’s crucial, and especially at times like these. Best of luck to you x

  91. LW – I am really worried about how worried you seem to be about everyone else *but* yourself. And you claim you aren’t angry. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE seek some professional counseling on this. Whether you call a hotline, contact a local organization that specializes in sex abuse, or a therapist who specializes in sex abuse. If that sounds too scary or “dramatic” then contact therapists/organizations that sound more accessible or appropriate to what you are currently experiencing.

    You may not be able to access all your feelings about this now (which is completely normal) but your feelings will surface and having people around you who are experts on mental health will make a HUGE difference.

    On the plus side, it sounds like your boyfriend’s moral compass is in working order. Also, it sounds like he is taking (VERY) appropriate action from his less emotionally involved position (he isn’t as invested in the relationships with friend or fiance) to step in on this horrifying situation. And he is less likely to get sucked into gaslighting/”second chances”/bids for what a “good guy” fiance really is – so l would advise leaning into that and not giving into the temptation to think “boyfriend is over reacting! It’s not that big of deal” in the hopes of not “ruining” your relationship with friend.

    Because you aren’t ruining anything. YOU AREN’T RUINING ANYTHING. Fiance did. This is his fault. THIS IS HIS FAULT. I am repeating this and capitalizing this because we are conditioned by society and further gaslighted by our abusers to think the opposite is true. Yes, your relationship with your friend (depending on how she handles this information) and other friends (if it turns into a Must Pick Sides situation) may crash and burn and that would be devastating and wildly unfair.


    I am so sorry. This is completely, totally, 100% not ok and it’s not ok that it happened to you. And if you lose friend(s) from this, that is also completely, totally, and 100% NOT YOUR FAULT.

    Please put your mental, emotional, and physical health as your number one priority. Be very, very kind and gentle with yourself. And be scrupulous in removing anyone from your life who doesn’t make you feel safe.

  92. Some unrelated points:

    -Let’s say he’s sincere in that he wants to change, is trying to change, and will change. That STILL takes a ton of work and a ton of time, with lots of falling back into bad behavior patterns and no certainty of a successful outcome. And the only way to help people change is a no-tolerance policy for their unacceptable behavior. So even using the most charitable interpretation, you still need to do the same thing. Don’t act like this is anywhere near okay or that it’s a blip or that everything suddenly goes back to normal. Think of him as having an aggressive cancer and even with painful long expensive expert treatment and monitoring, he still might die. This is a serious long-term problem.

    -I think you’ll get angry soon. Slowly the magnitude of this guy’s violation is will start to hit you. How many people he’s violated, how many ways, and how much he’s still doing it. When you get angry, you’ll look back on any excuses you made for him and you’ll feel sick and complicit and even more angry. So stop yourself in your tracks right now. Don’t be nice yet. Don’t talk with him or engage with him. Do NOT meet him for dinner. Give yourself time to get over the shock of this violation before you decide to forgive and forget. Think of yourself as in a coma after a car accident: you simply don’t have the physical ability to reach out or help or in any way be there for this guy. You will need not just days or a couple of weeks. You’ll need months or a year. Don’t forgive before you’ve let your body process all this. Bodies are slow. Even a hairline fracture takes two months. If you don’t take care of it while it heals it can take years. PAUSE.

    -Get those other two cameras back. In fact, don’t get them back by yourself. Don’t ask for them. Don’t tell your friend or your fiance you want them. Don’t warn anyone. Call the police, tell them he might have images of children in his house, and get law enforcement out there with a search warrant. Is this true what you’re telling the police? YES THIS IS TRUE. Do you see how I didn’t ask “Am I overreacting? Am I making trouble? Will it be awkward?” I asked “Is it true that he might have videos of naked children taken with zero consent in his possession?” And the answer was really simple: YES. You know why you’re not making things difficult for all your other friends? Because they don’t secretly take videos of naked kids. That’s why. It’s not because you’re more considerate or loyal to them. It’s because they don’t secretly take videos of naked people without their consent. Let that sink in.

    -Hell yes, call the cops. And be thankful you have a boyfriend with such good judgment and consideration for REAL victims. Don’t enable. Don’t protect. Don’t excuse. Don’t give this guy a pass. Most abusers have people in their lives who love them. That doesn’t mean their abuse isn’t real. You can love someone and still stop them from harming others. Yes, it’s really hard when your relationship takes this sudden screeching turn. It feels wrong and awful and strange and screechy. That screech you hear is him turning the wheels. He’s driving this car all by himself. The rest of you are just passengers. Get out of the burning car.

    -After you’ve called RAINN, after you’ve called a therapist or your mom or someone wise whom you trust, and probably after this guy’s computers are in the hands of the police, then you can reach out to your real friend, the woman you’ve known since you were both 13. She might not know it yet because at 29 it’s very difficult to visualize 49. But by not enabling this creep you are saving her from wishing her 30s back, wishing her life back, wishing she’d never had children with this guy, wishing she’d never accidentally landed her stepdad in trouble with the law, wishing her mother still trusted her, wishing her broken friendships back, regretting how she’d spent ten or twenty years sacrificing everyone and everything to try to rescue this guy. He might get well. But the only way any of you can help him get well is to let him experience real consequences. Anything else is just dragging this nightmare out until you’re all destroyed by it.

    -Your friendship might not exist or might suck for months or years, but it will heal. It really will. I promise.

  93. Reading about this violation made me physically ill. LW, I am so sorry that he did this to you, your boyfriend, and your friend.

  94. The creep is pressuring you to forgive and forget. He wants you to have a normal relationship again. That is – he wants you to come over to his house again. The place where you think he might have touched you while you slept and definitely videotaped you naked with hidden cameras. Those two things says that
    1. He KNOWS you aren’t a willing participant (or he wouldn’t have hidden the cameras or gone after you while you slept).
    2. He doesn’t care.
    You aren’t safe there. You aren’t safe around him.
    I’m afraid for your friend too, but think first about protecting yourself. I know it’s a horrible thing to think about – but you don’t know yet how many other aspects of your life he has been monitoring. As others have said – change the locks. Check your computer for spyware if he at any time has had access to it or been alone in the room with it.
    If he did touch you that time years ago, he might have had years of obsession and time to access your home and computer. I’m really hoping I’m paranoid here but these things happens and he clearly has no respect for your boundaries.
    Take care of yourself and be sure to check in with boyfriend a lot about the timeline and narrative. The creep will try to spin you around so that it ends up being your own fault. But it isn’t. It really isn’t.

  95. LW, I’m sorry this has happened to you — you;ve done nothing to deserve this. It’s all on him.

    And well done, you’re handling this like a champ!

    But since this will go on for a while, and you may want to try and keep Best Friend in your life, I just wanted to add a bit about the tactics abusers (and others) use to minimise their crimes, especially when emotions are involved and they’re pretending to be remorseful and throwing fauxpologies around like confetti.

    Stop and think about what your imaginary ideal of a truly repentant / remorseful / recovering criminal sexual predator would look like. What would they actually do, if they were genuinely sorry? What would it look like, if they were truly willing to accept the consequences of their criminal choices, and take responsibility for the mess their criminal activities caused?

    My list goes something like this: If they were really sorry…
    * They would really, truly accept that what they did was wrong, and make no excuses for it
    * They would accept that they are a criminal, will be treated like a criminal, and not try to play the victim
    * They would turn themselves in to the police, make a full confession of ALL their crimes, and plead guilty
    * They would hand over all the evidence, including all the equipment, and all the passwords and keys and so on
    * They would willingly hand over social media accounts, websites, and name online associates, if any of this involved internet activity
    * They would give the police a full list of all the victims they can name, and contact details they have for them, too
    * They would name any other people involved in committing or aiding them in these crimes
    * They would go to mental health professionals and make a treatment plan starting ASAP (if that’s appropriate)
    * They would not use any mental health issues as a threat or a get-out-of-jail-free card
    * They would admit to everyone in their family, social group & workplace what they’d done
    * They would accept others right to be upset & angry without trying to minimise it, deflect, escape or avoid it
    * They would not expect forgiveness or understanding, or demand any other emotional labour from their victims
    * They would let the victims control the process (if any) of explaining what they did & why, forgiveness, etc

    this one’s important:
    * If they were really sorry, they’d have stopped after the first offence, asked for help & turned themselves in right then
    * If they were really decent people, they’d have stopped BEFORE the first offence

    Write your own list down and keep it with you, and if/when a conversation turns to, oh, but he’s really sorry and the ever popular ruin his life bullshit, pull that list out and either read it to yourself or confront others with it. Criminals and abusers are usually only pretending to be sorry, so if/when he starts on fauxpologies and manipulation tactics (or best friend or anyone else starts apologising & explaining for him) this list can be a good check to the conversation. It’s not meant to be realistic (criminals aren’t idealised models of decent people by definition) but it is meant to help bulwark you against the emotional upheavals in these conversations by givng you a kind of reality check.

    “I’m/he’s really sorry, and I’m/he’s doing eveything I/he can, blah blah blah, fauxplogy, etc”
    “Great! So you’ve signed a full confession already? Handed over all the equipment? Given the police all your passwords?”

    Oh, and one of the best explanations I got for victim-blaming bullshit, that helped me not doubt ‘friends’ fundamental decency so much (though I’d still get angry at them spouting bullshit), was this:
    The only way to avoid abuse is to never be in the presence of an abuser, but abusers don’t have warning signs, so you can never know who they are. They could be anyone. This is terrifying, and takes away people’s control. So they tell themselves lies, to get that illusion of control and safety back, and make the world a less scary place to live in. And those lies are all those victim-blaming myths, because as long as someone can say “But I’d never do X!” they can pretend that they’re safe. (And this is why people get so defensive over the myths: when you threaten their myths, you’re threatening to take away their illusion of control and safety.)

    Also, the people who appeal to you to smooth things over are basically admitting that they know there’s no point talking to the criminal because he has no better nature to appeal to, and won’t ever change.

    I really don’t know what else to say. Stay strong, remember that nothing about this was your fault, and put the blame for all of this mess right where it belongs: on him.

  96. Wow captain, you really dropped the ball this time. I’ve been a long time reader but I think I might not be anymore…

    Your response simply should have been GO TO THE POLICE.

    I couldnt believe my eyes.

    Shame on you captain.Shame on ypu, shame on you, SHAME ON YOU.

    Unbelievable!! In your line of work (academia) you should know better! I couldn’t believe your response here.

    -Longtime reader, but probably not anymore tho.

    1. And shame on you for your victim-blaming.
      Given the crappy way the system often/usually treats victims of sex crimes, it’s LW’s right to decide whether she wanted to potentially bring down a whole load of shit on her head, in addition to what she’s already dealing with.

      If LW had not gone to the police and creeplord had kept creeping, it would be creeplord’s fault, not LW’s.

    2. If you’re a longtime reader, you should be aware of some of the reasons why a victim of crime, and especially of sexual assault, might hesitate to go to the police. In this case, LW has come back and told us that her local police reacted well and supportively; that doesn’t always happen, and isn’t something that victims can count on, even if they don’t have specific reasons (such as being LGBT, disabled, or nonwhite) to distrust their local police, in general or in this specific context.

      The LW has done nothing wrong here; she was and is entitled to think first of what is best for herself and her boyfriend, rather than some abstract idea of “justice” or even the risk to her friend.

      1. Thanks for including that being part of a marginalized group is reason enough to expect poor treatment from the police. While there are many good cops out there, there are still lots of bad ones and plenty who just don’t care. For some law-abiding citizens, going to the police to report a crime is not a reasonable or safe option. And heaven help those who have previously been on the wrong side of the law who are victims of a crime, because it’s highly unlikely that the justice system will.

    3. Well, if that’s the way you treat someone who writes something you disagree with in her own blog and her own time, I can only say: good riddance.

      Snark aside, “go to the police” is not a one-size-fits-all solution. For reasons already well explained by others, contacting law enforcement is not always an option.

      Also, with respect, but you have no business berating the Captain about… her line of work? (The fuck?)

    4. Read about ‘Marie’, a young woman who was raped by a man who broke into her apartment and raped her, then forced her to take a shower in order to destroy DNA evidence. She reported it to the police. Then she was accused of filing a false report.


      If you can say you have 100% confidence you’d go to the police as the victim of a sexual assault after reading that, well, it’s hard to know what to say.

    5. Gross. Remember when Rapist Brock Turner, Stanford Rapist got a slap on the wrist for having raped a woman? I would not blame the woman he raped for a second if after all of that she decided his pathetic, insulting, misogynistic sentence wasn’t worth the hassle of having pressed charges.

      Remember when serial abuser Jian Ghomeshi abused multiple women, 5 (I think?) of whom came forward to testify at his trials and he didn’t even get a slap on the wrist sentence?

      Remember ever rape case that’s ever been in the news ever?

      Remember the dismal statistics for how many rapists ever see the inside of a jail?

      Go be awful somewhere else.

      And in case there are any rape survivors reading this, it is absolutely your right not to go to the police for any reason, and sadly, it’s completely rational and justified to believe the police probably won’t help.

      1. Something that’s so hard about proving rape cases is that it doesn’t always look like how we imagine rape. It’s not a woman pulled into an ally by strangers, it’s usually committed by some one the victim knew. So remember that swimmy McRapeface committed rape that the everyone absolutely recognizes as rape and he still got off

    6. Also: the Captain’s advice was sufficiently encouraging that LW DID go to the police. What more do you want?

    7. Eric–Other commenters have mostly covered the reasons your post is unfair to the Captain and wrong-headed in general since it assumes going to the police is an easy/safe/effective thing to do for the LW, but I also want to add that the TONE of your reaction is yet another piece of why people don’t report sexual assault. They worry that if they hesitated a single iota (due to trauma, entirely reasonable concerns, a combo, whatever) they will be disbelieved or found wanting. The perception that a decision like this is easy and should be automatic undermines victims everywhere. There is no one-size-fits-all response to sexual assault.

      I encourage you to listen to or read “The Anatomy of Doubt,” which is a heartrending story that highlights the problem with assuming you know how people “should” react or behave following a traumatic event.

      article version: https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/12/16/an-unbelievable-story-of-rape?ref=hp-2-112#.d2bMSscTB
      podcast version: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/581/anatomy-of-doubt

      1. Woops, while I missed that someone else already posted this. Sorry for the repeat–such are the dangers of reading on my phone. Feel free to delete, Captain, if you’d like 🙂

  97. I just want to build on what a commenter upthread said about how in the coming weeks you’ll probably be all over the place emotionally. I’d like to add: so will your boyfriend. His initial instinct was to report, then he got confused, then he came through. That’s very typical of survivors of this kind of abuse. It’s disorienting. Your boyfriend sounds like a great guy. Be gentle with each other.

    Please make sure both you and your boyfriend get lots of support through this. It might help to write down your “clear” thoughts and post them on the fridge as a reminder. Like, “Fiance is responsible for his own actions. If his life is ruined, he did that.” and “I reported to the police because it was the right thing to do.” “Secrecy destroys lives. Secrecy creates more victims.” Whatever mantra works for you as a reminder. And since you have anxiety and depression, I’d add, “I did an excellent job taking care of myself and protecting my safety.” and “I am safe.”

    Also, PRAGMATIC STUFF not to be ignored:

    –Change the locks on your apartment.

    –Search your house and car and anywhere the fiance has been, or ask the police or your boyfriend to do it. Make sure there are no more cameras or audio. GET RID OF ANY PENS that aren’t yours. Vacuum under furniture. Give your houseplants some extra attention and care. Google how to check your computer and phones and make sure all is well. Doing this increases the “knowns” in your life instead of leaving unknowns floating in the air.

    –Anything your friend has access to, like passwords, accounts, etc? Change them. If you feel comfortable, let your workplace know not to welcome her or fiance in if they did so previously.

    –If there are people in your life who know both you and your friend and who might unwittingly give this guy access to info about you simply by trusting her, let them know what happened. Don’t do this unless they’re likely to be supportive, though. If you doubt they’ll understand, just avoid those people for a while.

    –Maybe create some guidelines for yourself on future interactions with your friend and with others around this. It’s nice to have a cheat sheet of scripts. It’s nice to know ahead of time how often and how long you’ll interact. If your friend calls at 2 am, do you take the call? If your friend texts you every five minutes for 24 hours asking how you could do this, do you respond? For your own mental health, figure out your boundaries around this for the coming weeks. (And I hope your boundaries let you get sleep, don’t engage in acrimonious conversations, etc. etc. There will be drama. It’s okay to disengage.) Note: The first call at 2 am or anything like that, just let your friend know when you can talk. And the first talk, let her know you’re still recovering and you need to limit your conversations to x hours or x days a week. You can reassure her that you love her and you’re still her friend, you just need some time. I mean, don’t ghost her or anything. You just need time.

    You did the right thing. Most of all, you did the right thing for yourself. That is something to be incredibly proud of. You know how all through this thread people were worried about you taking care of yourself? Nobody could do that for you. Only you could do that, and you came through with flying colors. Now you know that you are a dependable friend to yourself. That’s invaluable.

    And I just have my own take I’d like to add — if I were pregnant with this guy’s child, I’d like to know what else he has hidden in time for me to get an abortion. I know not everyone would feel that way. But I would be thanking you for acting swiftly enough to allow me that choice. (Of course, I wouldn’t be thanking you in my Stockholm state. But I would be thanking you a year later.)

    Take care. Jedi hugs.

  98. So I noticed that LW mentioned that she’s in Aus and I thought I’d mention some region specific resources?

    I’m in Victoria, so CASA is my state equivalent of RAINN. CASA has a resources page that links to resources in other states at http://www.casa.org.au/links/

    I can highly recommend their work.

    I haven’t had experiences with orgs in other states, maybe other aussies can chime in?

    My thoughts and love go out to you, LW.

  99. Holy moly. LW, your friend probably does *not* know the extent of what he did. He is talking up honesty and change to her. He is looking sad and ashamed and probably begging her forgiveness. He may even be suggesting he can only change with her love and support.

    I recently found myself involved with a predatory man. I didn’t know he was like that, at first. Then it all came out, along with all of the above. I was ambivalent and torn, but a predatory type only needs you to be ambivalent and invested enough not to leave straight away.

    Fortunately, this all happened over a very brief time. A few things started to slip through the net that helped me realise I was being played. I got out of the relationship really quickly, talked over the facts with trusted friends and professionals(including the authorities) and found that I had, indeed, been fed falsehoods in the form of half-truths.

    I’m afraid I don’t know what your friend will do. She’s been with him for a long time. But I put it to you that she needs to know the objective facts. She needs to know the effect of his behaviour on you. She needs to know the effect of this sort of behaviour on people generally. She needs to know the facts about predatory behaviour. Basically, she needs to be feeling some cognitive dissonance at this point. And she needs to know she has support if she leaves.

    Good luck.

  100. I had not thought about all the cameras he may have planted to pick up later.
    If you are not good at finding, talk to friends who are good at finding or see if one of the officers is willing to do a search for you. I am too far away or I would do it for you.

  101. Wow LW go you! You are handling this great, and I’m glad to hear the police have been decent. Also glad to hear your boyfriend is joining you in this; no idea what creeper’s preferences are but boyfriend was violated too and I can only imagine how confusing it is to him as well.
    So sorry to hear about your friend though – for her sake I hope there’s not really a pregnancy to further complicate the picture, or that if there is it was something she was trying for; I have to be honest first thought is that he might have sabotaged birth control; maybe to bind her closer or maybe just because he’s into nonconsentual stuff. I don’t mean over this particular incident but who knows.
    At some point it might be good to talk to your friend AWAY from Creep so that she has a little room to process without him trying to manipulate the picture. Hopefully after the police have done what they needed to do which hopefully won’t take too long.
    Anyway sorry you’re in this mess I think you are doing the best you can.

  102. LW, thanks for your bravery. This is not a situation anyone would want to be in, but you are handling it well, and being brave to look out for you, your friends who have been filmed, and others who may have already been filmed/may be filmed in the future. I’ve been thinking about you ever since reading this. I’m sorry that you have to go through this but you are handling it beautifully.

  103. LW, you’re awesome, and brave. Big Jedi hugs if you want them. I’m so glad to hear that the police are being supportive and taking this seriously. I’m so sorry for the friendship you’ve lost; because it IS a loss, and it’s ok to grieve for that.

    And please remember – this is not about anything you did; this is all on him. You’re not ruining his life – he is the one who did this. It’s really sad that he is not the only one who will bear the consequences of his choices and his actions, but that still does not make it your fault in any way, shape, or form.

  104. JMM had great advice. As soon as you can possibly stand to do those things, try to do them. Paranoia is the imaginary idea that someone is out to get you. Creepy Fiance DID violate you, your boyfriend, and others. He’s probably gaslighting his fiancee right now, if not worse.

    I’m also glad your BF came around. That’s big.

    Some more tips to tuck away for if/when you need them:

    Dealing with violations like this is never a straight line. You think you’re doing well, then something seemingly trivial makes you feel like you got sucker-punched to the gut. Then you can’t remember your passwords,or where you left your keys, or how to brush your hair.

    Get someone good on your side who is qualified to help you through this. If you can, meet a couple and see who feels safest and most helpful. (Think of all the things the Awkward Army said here, and if a therapist gives you an victim-blaming garbage, get up and leave.)

  105. What a ROCK STAR you are. He tried to use the love you have for your friend against you. He even enlisted her (poor, gas lighted) wailings as a weapon to cover his arse. Even your super cool geeky boyfriend and his IT wand of truth was starting to waver under the strain of victimhood. That’s when you got up and went to bat. You remember that. He is a sick and dangerous man, but he’s slick. You’re the only person he’s never sunk. He never expected the likes of you.

    PS: Hell yeah he assaulted you in your sleep. Do you think you’d still remember a mere dream? Or who was home the night of a certain dream? You knew FOR SURE when you woke up. Until you realised no ‘rapist’ was in the house. Because it was too big a stretch to think that of him then.

  106. LW, i am in awe of your bravery and hope you are finding some small measure of comfort in the support and jedi hugs here.

    None of what happened was your fault. None of the consequences for Creepy Fiance are your fault either. He chose to be Creepy (and then some) and that’s on him. And only him.

    I’m so sorry you’ve had to deal with this kind of betrayal and all the crap that goes along with it. It’s a situation full of suck and, as many above have said, it’s going to take time, self care, and maybe some professional help, to work through it.

    Sending good thoughts and positive vibes your way.

  107. After reading LW’s follow-up, I’m really worried for “Jenny.”

    They also had a mini holiday booked the following weekend with Jenny and her boyfriend (who is fiancé’s best friend) and she’d been looking forward to it for so long.

    Put another way, Predatory Fiance had another non-consensual video shooting session planned with Jenny and her boyfriend as the unwilling stars of the show.

    I asked her if she was planning on telling Jenny what fiancé had done and she said no.

    I want to give Best Friend all the benefit of the doubt, what with her being shocked and blindsided and scared… but I’m having a hard time not seeing this as “Best Friend doesn’t want to spoil Fiance’s hunting.”

    In any case, whether Best Friend is acting out of shock/fear/panic or out of deliberate collusion with the sexual predator, Best Friend cannot at this time be trusted to take actions that are in the interest of anyone else’s safety (other than her fiance’s). I hope LW will take all reasonable precautions to protect herself, and I hope Jenny can be warned before she winds up starring in yet another one of Predatory Fiance’s video shoots.

    1. This. I am giving serious side-eye to the friend when her first response was to say, “Oh, no, we’re not telling Jenny. We’ve been looking forward to the holiday for so long.” Like her enjoyment of the holiday and potential disappointment were so much more important than Jenny’s safety.

    2. LW and Boyfriend probably have some difficult conversations coming up in their whole social circle. Which I think would be a good idea to have right away (I know, not what you want mid-crisis), because:

      – It’s likely Fiance has preyed on many of their friends. They should be warned, not least because they’ll need to check their own homes and computers for spying devices.

      – Fiance has shown himself to be manipulative. It’s quite possible he (or Best Friend under his influence) will be out there trying to get mutual friends on his side with some story or other. To minimise the social clusterf*ck he could create, it would help to get the true story out there before he spreads a false one, or if he’s beaten you to it, at least counter his version as soon as possible.

  108. Man, I have a problem like this right now, but I feel even more trapped. What do you do when your best friend’s husband has been downloading vast quantities of child porn, but the only reason you know about it is because the best friend is the one who told you?

    1. You know what the right thing is, I think. It’s just hard to actually do it because the consequences of what he’s doing are very messy and don’t affect just him. At LEAST talk to a lawyer?

    2. I see the captain posted up above. Please contact a lawyer and call the police as soon as possible. While all sexual crimes are awful this husband has committed one of the absolute worst. He’s a threat, not just to you not just to your friend but to everyone. What he’s done is illegal for very clear and obvious reasons. And while people who are attracted to children can’t change that about themselves they can choose not to be involved and commit harm to children

      1. I agree, Ruler of cats.

        There’s another point as well: victims of child porn who have come forward to speak publicly have said that the knowledge that the porn is out there, that people continue to access it and view it, is an ongoing traumatisation for them. The victims who have spoken up say that they feel ongoing suspicion as they go through their daily lives, wondering if someone they come into even casual contact with, such as a cashier, has viewed the recording of their sexual abuse and, if so, is that person somehow connecting it with them?

    3. Ouch.

      Why did your friend tell you? Were they looking for reassurance, or help tolerating it, or someone to push them into reporting him?

      None of this affects the fact that he is, at best, financing child abuse, and at worst also doing it himself, but it might affect how you handle it with your friend.

      Does your country/state have a non-prison treatment option for pedophiles who turn themselves in? If so, would it work to say, ‘He has to go get him or I go to the police?’

  109. When I read that best friend and fiance are still going on vacation with Jenny and her boyfriend, I was reminded of Karla Homolka’s relationship with Paul Bernardo. LW’s best friend may be just as involved as her fiance. LW please be careful.

  110. A thought on the Jenny-and-holiday issue:

    From what the LW wrote in her comment, I’m not clear on whether Friend actually *knows* at this point (or, at least, whether she knew at the point of telling LW about how much they were looking forward to the holiday) that Fiancé also filmed Jenny. It could well be that the LW had not updated Friend about this new knowledge and that Friend still believed that Fiancé had ‘only’ filmed LW.

    That, I think, makes quite a big difference in how we view Friend talking about how much she’s looking forward to going on holiday with Jenny and Fiancé. If Friend didn’t know about Fiancé filming Jenny, then she’s being tricked into placing Jenny in danger, not doing it deliberately. While that makes no difference to the urgent need to clue Jenny in so that she can cancel the holiday (which hopefully the police will be taking care of), it does make a big difference to Friend’s culpability at this point. If she *does* know about the Jenny-filming and is still happy with having Jenny and Fiancé on holiday together, that’s well into Can’t Even territory and this friendship probably needs to be destroyed with fire. If she doesn’t know, I’d give her the benefit of the doubt at this point as someone who’s being abused, manipulated and gaslit and, as such, is not thinking through the full horrific implications of ‘Fiancé filmed a woman without her consent and lied about it but is assuring me that he’s totally trustworthy on everything else.’

    1. I think what it comes down to, though, is that, for whatever reason, Friend cannot be trusted to act in Jenny’s (or any potential/actual victim’s) best interest. I can sympathize with her as a possible victim herself, I can see her as someone who desperately wants to believe Fiance’s promises to never do it again, and still recognize that she is putting Jenny at risk. That, to me, is the most important thing.

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