An Apple Health Care, Inc. IT department employee was fired after his company-issued iPhone was found live-streaming video of people using a bathroom to his work laptop on April 25.
After waiting for a judge to sign off on a warrant, police charged Joseph Boucher, 36, of the Kensington section of Berlin, with three counts of voyeurism on May 23. He turned himself in, posted a $50,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in Hartford Superior Court on June 6, police said.
Three female employees were filmed in the incident at 21 Waterville Rd., police said, which is the company's headquarters. The victims have been offered counseling, as well as all workers in the Apple Health Care family.
Executive Vice President Brian Bedard described the 30-year-old Avon health care company as just that, a family. Many employees have worked there for over 10 years, including Bedard who has managed the company for 11. So it came as a shock to him that one of their own would hide an iPhone 4S in a Kleenex tissue box in a lower level unisex bathroom, puncture a peep hole and set it to record the toilet and bathroom area.
“This is not a reflection of our family,” Bedard said.
When he broke the news to staff the next day, something was even more startling.
“The entire staff, no one knew who was victimized or wasn’t, which means, they all felt victimized,” Bedard said. “We provided counseling and resources to them and many people here took advantage of it. I think any time that somebody takes from you something that you’re not willing to give or invades your privacy or your personal space, you become a victim. I think people have the full emotional damage relative to their feelings, and all of which were appropriate. It was an intrusion of personal space and privacy. It was sad. This was difficult.”
Many employees avoided using that bathroom as a result and opted to use other ones in the building, he said.
Apple Health Care spent the past couple days honoring one common request after the incident
“I can’t really tell you all the reasons why because I’m not really sure of them myself, but several people have asked me to redo the bathrooms and we have,” Bedard said. “I think there’s something in it that’s let’s start over.”
Bedard has been keeping the employees up to date on any new information in the case.
The April 25 Incident
It all began on that April 25 when he was got a call about the incident while out of town for a meeting. A female employee found the phone actively recording in the bathroom and brought it to administrative staff. When Bedard returned and once his IT director identified who the work phone belonged, they turned the phone off. He applauded her for her actions, calling her a hero for protecting further people from being victimized.
“I couldn’t get that phone to [the Avon police] fast enough,” Bedard said. “The other thing I was concerned about was the potential that this could have gone anywhere else.”
Bedard thanks the police officers and detectives for their work on the case and staying until midnight on the first day.
“They partnered with us,” he said.
In addition to the police forensics evaluation of the phone and computer, Apple Health Care hired its own experts to make sure there was nothing inappropriate being transmitted through the company network, Bedard said.
“We took our entire network down. We wanted to shut it down so if it was streaming anywhere, it was not going to be seen,” Bedard said. “It was isolated between the computer and his phone.”
There was no evidence of an attempt to upload or post the content of the recording elsewhere, Bedard said. The surveillance feature on the iPhone was streamed through a paid app, he said and the video camera function on the phone was likely active between 2 and 4 p.m. Police said the video files were only found stored on the phone and have been removed.
As for Boucher’s motive, that is a question Bedard asks himself often. He calls the act “impulsive” and “incomprehensible.”
“What his plan was to do with it, I don’t know,” Bedard said. “We keep asking that question, trying to understand, but when you take a step back from it, you say, there’s no way I’ll ever understand it.”
Avon Patch tried to reach Boucher for comment at his Kensington phone number early Friday evening, but a woman who answered hung up.
Keeping Up with Technology
While iPhones and laptops allow for better remote access to Apple Health Care’s internal network for employees, Bedard indicated that it can be a challenge for businesses to keep up with rapidly changing technological advancements. Just a year ago, Apple Health Care established an electric monitoring policy, reminding employees that they are responsible for all activity on their company-issued technology.
The company’s internal network has filters and bans certain sites, largely because social media “has gotten people inadvertently into trouble.” Bedard said there have been terminations because employees posted things they shouldn’t have on Facebook. The measures are “to protect them from themselves,” he said.
“It begs the questions, there’s another side to technology,” Bedard said. “[Boucher] had access and expertise that other people don’t have by the nature of what he did.”
Apple Health Care is hoping to move on from the incident.
“We’re hoping to in the near future put it behind us and do what we do best, which is caring for the residents in our homes,” Bedard said.
Original story of the case: