Upskirting victim felt phone between her legs
A 60-YEAR-OLD former university staff officer who filmed up women's dresses on his way to work has been sentenced to 18 months prison.
Magistrate Jacqueline Milledge told Karl Edwin Skow that the sheer volume of his filming and his "predatory behaviour on young women" warranted a jail term.
The court heard that Skow, who will serve a minimum 12 months in jail, had "sexual fantasies" and alcohol problems.
The Unanderra man, who was dressed in black trousers, a grey jacket and tie, and had his grey hair neatly trimmed during his sentencing at the Downing Centre Local Court on Wednesday, went red in the face as Magistrate Milledge discussed the sheer "volume" of his filming women's private parts up their skirts.
Although he pleaded guilty to three charges of intentionally recording intimate images without consent against identified women victims, a further 33 charges relating to women whose images on Skow's laptop could not be identified were taken into account.
"There are so many of them it's habit forming," Ms Milledge told Skow's lawyer and questioned his client's excuse of alcohol abuse, which solicitor Michael Hempsall blamed, along with Skow's "depression and anxiety".
"I mean he's not affected by alcohol on his way to work? I appreciate you are getting treatment," Ms Milledge told Skow. "But the community can't wait for people to make awful choices that affect other people and when they are caught say 'oh they are doing something about it'.
"You are an intelligent man holding down a job.
"You knew your failings and you did nothing about them and then you were caught by a young woman filming up her skirt.
"I consider what you have done to be so grave in terms of predatory behaviour on young women who are simply going about their own lives.
"Imagine how this feels being preyed on by you?"
Police prosecutor senior sergeant Jamie Palmer told the court that the woman who had confronted Skow when she found him filming her had shown "great emotion and disgust".
"Community members of NSW should have the right to go about their business and go to and from work," Ms Palmer said. "There is a sense of violation and outrage.
"Their dignity and privacy has been invaded. This should not be tolerated."
The woman whose targeting by the then 59-year-old upskirter led to his arrest on further charges was at Central Railway Station when she felt the presence of someone standing close behind her.
It was October 12 last year, and when the woman turned around she found Skow hunched with his head down as he looked closely at a Samsung phone in his hand.
"As the escalator neared the top, the victim felt the presence of someone behind her," police documents tendered to court said.
"She turned slightly to her right and has seen the accused hunched over behind her, such that she could see only the tip of his head and looking at his phone.
"At the same time she felt a mobile touch her upper thigh."
She looked down and could see a phone held by Skow was positioned between her legs and below her skirt with the screen facing upwards.
Skow pleaded guilty to three counts of intentionally recording intimate images without consent when he appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court last month.
According to the agreed police facts, the victim turned completely around "just as the accused retracted his hand and phone". At the top of the escalator, Skow tried to push past her but the victim confronted him about what had happened.
"She asked if he had been filming up her skirt. The accused has continued to walk away [and] the victim has slapped the accused on the arm a number of times and repeated the question. "The accused has said 'of course not' and continued walking way at a quickened pace," the police facts stated.
When police examined CCTV footage, they saw him standing at the bottom of the escalator for a number of minutes, despite having plenty of space and, at times, the escalator being empty.
He was filmed wandering around and lingering until he saw the victim get off a train and step on to the escalator.
"The accused has then moved his way through the crowd and stood behind her on the escalator," the police statement said.
Skow was a manager at the staffing office of Sydney's University of Notre Dame. A spokeswoman for the university told news.com.au it had been unaware of the charges until Mr Skow's appearance in court last month.
"The university first became aware of this matter when it was reported in the media and had no prior knowledge of the charges before then," the spokeswoman said.
"Mr Skow, who had been employed by the university in an administrative [not teaching capacity], tendered his resignation, which was accepted by the university with immediate effect.
"The university condemns all forms of sexual harassment and assault, and will continue to ensure the safety of all within the university."
Police were surprised at Skow's manner when he was arrested last November.
"Police would like to note that despite being yelled at, being accused of wrongdoing in addition to being slapped om the arm by a total stranger, the reaction of the accused was undeterred, placid and not emotional … which was seemingly disproportionate to the circumstances around him," court documents stated.
"His recollection of the incident was vague in some areas and detailed in others."
After Skow was arrested, police searched his home and seized a laptop, hard drives and USB thumb drives. A search of the laptop found images that identified 36 additional victims.
Further scrutiny of his devices revealed a number of pictures depicting the buttock area of people wearing underwear and short skirts.
Police said in 47 of the images Scow was "clearly recognisable" in one corner.
He pleaded guilty to charges related to three victims - the one who confronted him at Central Station and two others who were targeted in Haymarket in 2017 and have since been identified.
Skow's earliest possible release date is May 29, 2019.