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Man charged with videoing boys in Boston Latin restrooms

A Dorchester man faces federal charges of sexual exploitation of children for the 45 videos authorities say they found on his computer that show "male students in various states of dress using the urinals and stalls" in a Boston Latin School boys' room between February and June, 2017.

Eric Tran Thai, 36, could face additional charges for the videos he allegedly made of men in restrooms at Boston College, Boston University, MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Bunker Hill, Community College and a variety of malls and airports, the US Attorney's office reports.

In general, the videos show Thai sitting in a bathroom stall at Boston Latin High School [sic] recording individuals in adjacent stalls or at the urinals through various secret recording methods. In some videos, Thai appears to hold a camera over the top of the partition between the bathroom stalls and videotaping from overhead. In other instances, he appears to hide a small camera inside of his backpack, place the backpack on the bathroom floor and videotape individuals in the adjacent bathroom stall from under the stall’s partition. While recording, it appears that Thai would simultaneously view what the camera was recording on a cellphone or a tablet device in his possession. Based on this evidence, Thai was charged with five counts of sexual exploitation of children in violation of federal law.

An affidavit by an FBI agent in the case details what Thai allegedly saw, but does not say how he managed to get into BLS on at least ten occasions to make the videos.

On March 14, 2018, Boston College Police detectives and members of the Boston Police Department School Police Unit met at the Boston Latin High School, 78 Avenue Louis Pasteur, Boston, Massachusetts and confirmed that the décor of the various boys’ bathrooms at the school matched what was visible in the videos in the “Boston Latin High School” folder. Investigators swept all bathrooms located in Boston Latin to ensure there were no recording devices present.

Thai was initially arrested last month after two BC students reported somebody had been videoing them in a restroom there.

Thai was placed under arrest on state charges and his bag was subsequently searched; in it, police found several covert camera devices, including faux smoke detectors, a water bottle containing a small cube recording device, and a pair of sunglasses outfitted with a built-in camera.

On March 1, the US Attorney's office says, investigators with a search warrant entered his home and found "26 computer hard drives, 20 thumb drives, 27 covert and regular cameras, 14 computers, iPads, and cell phones, and multiple SD and Sim cards."

If convicted, he faces between 15 to 30 years in prison on each of the five counts related to the BLS videos, officials say.

Innocent, etc.

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Comments

How did he gain access? Was he a tutor or a volunteer?

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College campus restrooms are generally open to the public...but I thought the Boston school police at least screened visitors to Boston public schools?

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They have guards and a cop, but, no, they don't stand at the door. But you are at least supposed to be buzzed in.

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I mean, dang, even BLS students don't have access to BLS after the truancy bell.

I was around the Longwood Medical Area when a SWAT team was sent to Avenue Louis Pasteur. Apparently some balloon-popping at a Simmons College building was thought to be a possible active shooter threat. Weirdly enough, the hyper cautious response was understandable.

Those poor kids. I thought BPS visitors had to sign in at the school's main office? Maybe this guy posed as a parent or maintenance worker? It's so disturbing to even think about.

But maybe Harvard will ease up on the unfair profiling of "people who don't look like they go to Harvard." The number of times I've been asked to show my ID on campus and have been assumed to be up to no-good is disheartening.

Especially disheartening since I'm on the Harvard campus to attend class and/or study and not secretly recording people in the bathroom or otherwise cause harm.

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What does this story have to do with you being at Harvard? Why would Harvard "ease up" because of this story? If anything, they should be even more vigilant.

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I love how mad you are that I go to Harvard, haha, but your anger towards me is misdirected. Maybe wait for the outcome of this case and save it for, you know, the guy is accused of secretly recording school children and others in public bathrooms?

I'm speaking on the experience of being perceived as someone who "doesn't belong" in an elite academic setting and being treated with suspicion...while others (like the suspect in this story) are able to take advantage of being seen as "belonging."

Now that your blood pressure is significantly raised and your insecurity is showing...get ready for it: the suspect in this story is alleged to have secretly recorded in the bathrooms at Harvard, among other colleges.

Please stay all mad and hypertensive, though, lil' guy!

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Yeah, i'm furious you go to Harvard. It eats me up inside.

The fact that you go to Harvard had nothing to do with the story, and was just your way of telling the forum you go to Harvard. Guess what, nobody cares if you go to Harvard, are from Harvard, or even just drove by Harvard.

Your point apparently was Harvard shouldn't be so quick to ID you....yet the story was about someone who seems to have snuck into a school and hid cameras. It was an idiot point, especially for a Harvard student.

(Was that enough Harvard references to satisfy your ego?)

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Sorry you feel so insecure about my mentioning attending Harvard, one of the schools where this suspect is alleged to have taken videos in the bathroom. I am sure that this impacts you very deeply. I don't know you (nor do I have any desire to know you)...how could I have known you get so triggered by this?

Another trauma sandwich for you: if I were still attending Bunker Hill Community College (as I did years ago) then I would've mentioned campus safety in relation to BHCC (SPOILER: Bunker Hill is another college where this suspect is alleged to have committed these crimes). As I currently do not attend BHCC I didn't find it especially relevant.

Honestly, the most controversial things about the Harvard campus bathrooms is how filthy they often are. But that's what happens when a bunch of kids who have never had to clean up after themselves don't understand the concept of picking up after themselves. What a massive bag of YIKES!

Anyway, with you being such a fan of mine: I am surprised that you haven't thrown a similar tantrum when I've mentioned attending Boston Latin School.

Brace yourself, friend: I also attended weekend courses at Milton Academy when I was in elementary school. Boston kids are, in fact, "wicked smaht, like, that's not just a cute thing we say here, lil' guy.

That's a Boston public education for you. Felicity Huffman didn't bribe anyone on my behalf to get me where I am (Kimmy Gibbler is my sugar daddy though). Education (especially in Boston) is an important tool for social mobility and empowerment. I feel so fortunate and grateful to have grown up here.

I still appreciate you as a fan, Boston Guy. Just don't put any recording devices in my bathroom, mmmkay?

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According to the school district, Thai is an alumnus of Boston Latin School who graduated in 2000. Officials said he has no current affiliation with the school and entered the school after normal hours.

From a WCVB article about this story...

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If this is really the guy who I'm thinking it could be.. then I've been schoolmates with this person during five years of elementary school and seven years at BLS. Never quite the people who you expect... wow, and gross.

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It's really disheartening to think that somebody would exploit their status as a BLS alum like this.

I ran into one of my former BLS classmates when I did a comedy open mic a few years ago...which seemed pretty fitting.

And back in the summer I found out one my BLS friends took her life. We used to sit next to one another in Latin class because of our last names and we pulled an April Fool's Prank on one of our student-teachers. I cannot recall her ever showing outward signs of depression or anything. She was always so happy and outgoing and fun.

Every person has a whole unknown emotional underground inside of them, I guess. :(

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What was a 36 year old's pretext for being in a bathroom at a high school over a period of five months? Did he work there?

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But the result is probably going to be that he's facing much harsher charges than if he stuck to bathrooms where the people were over 18.

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I'm sure a motivated alumnus could come with multiple excuses for being on campus. The school does a lot of fundraising.

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The college campus bathrooms he's alleged to have recorded in have facilities that are more or less open to the public. It's just so disturbing to think that he could have gained access to a 7-12 school.

Certainly BLS/BPS isn't to blame for this and I'm sure school officials are considering how to make the school more secure moving forward. I mean, look how BLS handled alleged vampires from "Twilight" lurking around the school grounds.

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Just cannot catch any breaks, huh? This is so horrible.

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How much footage is of vaping and drug deals? Kids I know who went to BLS would avoid using the bathrooms because they didn't like the reek of mango juul.

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The days of BLS student smokers trying to pass themselves off as MassArt students to sneak cigarettes are over, it seems.

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