Texas

Texas woman says she was recorded in 24 Hour Fitness shower, sues over lack of security

Maria Pelayo filed a lawsuit Wednesday against 24 Hour Fitness and one of its managers in Houston.
Maria Pelayo filed a lawsuit Wednesday against 24 Hour Fitness and one of its managers in Houston.

A Texas woman who had been a member of 24 Hour Fitness in Houston filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the company and a manager after she says a man recorded her while she showered at the gym in September.

The man, who was dressed similarly to a 24 Hour Fitness employee, ran away when she screamed and got out of the shower.

The lawsuit also noted that Maria Pelayo was not able to view any security recordings because the cameras were not working at the time of the incident.

Pelayo filed a police report, but no one has been arrested in the case as of Thursday.

Pelayo filed the lawsuit in Houston Wednesday against the company and Houston manager Jason Smart.

“We are aware of an incident that took place in our 24 Hour Fitness Houston Rice Village club in which a female club member reported an encounter that concerned her while she was in the women’s locker room,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “Due to privacy considerations, we cannot provide further information.”

24 Hour Fitness, which is based in San Ramon, California, has 400 gyms in 13 states, including several in North Texas and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, according to the company’s website.

The lawsuit stated Pelayo was in the women-only shower on Sept. 24, 2018, after a workout when she looked down and saw a cell phone being aimed at her and recording her.

Pelayo screamed, opened the shower door and saw a man who immediately ran away. She ran to the front desk, asked for help and requested to see security recordings to be able to identify the man.

An employee at the front desk told her it would not be a problem, according to the lawsuit. A few minutes later, manager Jason Smart came out and told her that she could not see the recordings because the cameras were not working, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit noted that new customers often receive a tour of the gym with employees boasting of the facility’s security, pointing out security cameras, thumbprint sensors, front desk employees and a security guard in the parking lot.

Just like many movements for equal rights in America, the path for women to seek recourse from sexual harassment has been through the courts. But grassroots activism in the 1970s opened the space for a nationwide conversation, and the Civil Rights

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