Gary Taylor, the head of the drama department who has been accused of videotaping a female student while she changed clothes in a campus dressing room, was arraigned Oct. 13 in the King County Regional Justice Center.
Taylor, 71, will be formally charged with voyeurism, the act of spying on people engaged in intimate or private behavior. It is a Class C felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Taylor appeared in King County Superior Court on Monday Oct. 4 to receive a charging document spelling out the allegations against him.
Taylor was accompanied by his wife, Judy, who worked part-time as a drama seamstress until she resigned last week.
Taylor, who has no previous criminal record, is accused of putting a video camera in the girl's dressing room of the Performing Arts Center to record female students changing.
The camera was placed between two pillows on a shelf in the dressing room and was discovered on Sept. 28 by a 20-year-old drama student who said she was told by Taylor to try on some dresses.
The student recognized the camera because Taylor had used it to record previous performances, according to the probable-cause document. The student played back the video and saw Taylor placing the camera and naked images of herself. Taylor, who has been employed at the college since 1967, turned himself in to the Auburn Police Department on Sept. 30 and was released on his own recognizance the next day. He remains on emergency leave from the college with full pay.
After word of Taylor's arrest became public, several Green River students came forward and told The Current they had long-standing concerns about his conduct as head of the drama department.
Shannon McMahan, a college drama student, said she complained multiple times about Taylor. In particular, McMahan said she complained about Taylor's tactics for auditioning girls for an upcoming play, Noises Off.
"He had girls auditioning for Brooke (a character in the play) privately in their bikinis," said McMahon.
The college didn't act on her complaint because it said she didn't have enough evidence to substantiate her claim, according to McMahon. "I am just glad he finally got caught in the act."
Kelsey Ward, a former Green River student who took two classes from Taylor, called him "creeptastic" and "grody." But she never considered him someone who would spy on girls changing in the dressing room. "He was very cocky and probably never thought he would get caught," she added.
Another former student, Courtney Foxworthy, said several drama students "were very unhappy with the drama program, and we felt uncomfortable around Gary."
"We decided we didn't want to put up with that anymore and decided to make our own drama club so that future students wouldn't have to deal with his unfairness and his creepiness and just [had] a safe place to do theater, because that is what we love."
Several students told The Current they had complained to Student Services and Human Resources about Taylor's conduct. However, John Ramsey, director of public information for the college, said "no claims filed with Human Resources have been substantiated."
News of Taylor's arrest surprised members of the college faculty as well. Cindy Small, an art instructor who regularly attended Fine Arts Division meetings where Taylor was present, said she "was just in a meeting with him two weeks ago… I'm just shocked."
Taylor taught five classes this fall at Green River (three on campus and two online), and was running the direction of a play, The Miser, on campus.
The college has filled the teaching assignments and found someone to direct the play in Taylor's absence.
Taylor has been barred from contact with the victim.
In an e-mail to students and employees of the college, President Eileen Ely said:
"The College is aware of a potentially serious situation involving one of its faculty members, and we have and will continue to cooperate with local authorities. We respect the privacy of all parties and will keep the campus updated when appropriate. We place a high value on student safety and want to let you know there is no danger to the campus community."
Case related documents: