A 35-year-old man who allegedly hung a hidden camera in a tanning booth where he worked faces a series of sex charges.
Biddeford police in February charged Joseph A. Flister with 41 counts of invasion of privacy and multiple charges of gross sexual assault. He is accused of having sex with a 14 year-old-girl who now lives out of state.
Flister’s last address was in Portland, although he lived in Biddeford at the time of the alleged crimes. His arrest on Feb. 12 was not announced until Wednesday.
The case evolved from a call from a female employee at a fitness center in Biddeford, who reported in January that she had found what she thought was a hidden camera in a private room with a tanning booth. Police found what appeared to be a key fob hanging from the wall close to the ceiling.
The woman said she was suspicious of Flister, a co-worker, and told him a day earlier that she would be tanning after work, as she usually did. She checked the room before telling him, then found the fob hanging from the wall when she returned to the room, police said.
She then told him that she was too tired to tan that day. The next day, she again told him that she planned to tan after work, she told police, and he said he had to clean the room first. When she checked the room, the fob was there again, police said.
Flister was fired that night.
On Jan. 24, police determined that the fob was a miniature recorder and they could see Flister activating it because his reflection was visible in a mirror and recorded by the device. Police got a search warrant and seized computers and recording devices from his house at 27 Emery St. in Biddeford.
Based on that evidence, police charged Flister with five counts of gross sexual assault, one count of unlawful sexual touching and 40 counts of exploitation of a minor, as well as invasion of privacy.
Police said there is no evidence that Flister recorded anyone at the tanning booth.
The seized recordings were of his alleged sexual interaction with the 14-year-old in 2012 and of other people having sex, which he apparently recorded with hidden cameras, police said.
Because Flister had used the Internet to upload the recordings, the city consulted with federal officials to determine whether he would be charged under federal or state law.
The decision to prosecute him under state law was made this week.
David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at: