A Grapevine car salesman is accused of stealing a customer’s nude photos and sending them to a swingers website as the customer waited to buy a car last year, according to a lawsuit filed in Dallas County.
The salesman, Matthew Luke Thomas, 44, also faces a Class B misdemeanor charge in Tarrant County of computer security breach related to the accusation. He was arrested in November 2015 and released on $5,000 bond.
Tim and Claire Gautreaux filed the lawsuit Thursday against Thomas, Texas Toyota of Grapevine and Toyota Motor North America.
The Gautreauxs had gone to the Grapevine dealership on Jan. 27, 2015, to buy a new car. As the couple talked with a salesman, Tim Gautreaux, a local pastor, told the salesman about an app on his phone to help with pre-approved financing, the lawsuit said.
The salesman then took the phone to his manager, Thomas.
When Gautreaux got his phone back, he opened it and found a photograph of his wife “in a compromising stage of undress,” the lawsuit said.
While the Gautreauxs continued to wait at the dealership, Tim Gautreaux opened another app that tracks and saves deleted emails. He noticed a finance-related email sent to Thomas but also two emails sent with two photos of his wife to a swingers website operated by a Garland couple.
“One can only imagine how many more people have now had access to those photographs since they were stolen from the Gautreauxs,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit alleged that the photo was sent for “malicious reasons” to harm the Gautreauxs’ reputation.
“These highly offensive and disturbing acts committed against a devout family of faith were intentional and the potential harm will be a source of concern for the remainder of Tim and Claire’s lives,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also alleged that Thomas had been involved in prior “improper conduct involving a female” while employed at the dealership.
California attorney Gloria Allred is one of the lawyers representing the Gautreauxs, and she appeared with the couple in a news conference Thursday.
“These actions have caused the Gautreauxs to suffer humiliation and mental anguish, particularly because they do not know who has seen these photographs or may see them in the future,” Allred said, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Claire Gautreaux, 27, told reporters she wants to stand up for other victims.
“I want to make sure that it does not happen to anyone else,” she said. “I hope to bring awareness and prevent others from being victimized as I was.”
The Gautreauxs’ lawsuit — which alleges negligence, intrusion, deceptive trade practices and breach of contract — is seeking more than $1 million in damages.