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Fired reporter faces new charges in bathroom privacy case

October 25. 2013 12:32PM

ROCHESTER - A former Rochester Times reporter accused of placing a camera inside a second-floor women's bathroom in a building where the newspaper rents office space is facing another 13 counts of invasion of privacy.

Conor Brendan Makem, 45 of 47 Pearl St., Amesbury, Mass., was arrested Thursday on the additional charges after police said they identified five more women who were victims.

Makem worked for the newspaper for about 10 years until he was fired on Oct. 17.

He is accused of placing a camera inside the second-floor women's bathroom of the Merchants Plaza office building, where a bureau for Foster's Daily Democrat and the Rochester Times is housed, along with several other businesses.

Makem, who worked for the Rochester Times for about a decade, originally was charged with 12 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy and one felony charge of falsifying evidence.

The falsifying evidence charge alleges Makem got rid of the camera, but investigators said they recovered images from computers seized in his office and home.
The investigation began on Oct. 7 when a woman noticed an "eraser-size" device in a ceiling of the second-floor bathroom of the 1 Old Dover Road building.
She alleged Makem removed the device, threw it into a dumpster and told her he would call police. Because he threw the device away, police could not determine if it was a camera or a red light, as Makem believed, according to court records.

Three days later, however, police obtained a warrant to seize Makem's cell phone, a camera, flash drives and some computers from the newspaper office.
Makem was first suspended by Foster's, which owns the weekly newspaper, and then fired on Oct. 17.

His bail on the latest charges was set at $5,000 cash which he posted. His arraignment is set for Nov. 25.

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