Crime - Sacto 911

3 more women sue Michael Lyon over secret videotapings

Michael Lyon has done his jail time and finished his sentence under GPS monitoring, but his legal problems aren't going away.

Three more women have come forward accusing him of secretly taping them in bedrooms, bathrooms and showers in his home.

The latest alleged victims, who made the accusations in court papers filed Thursday in a pending civil suit, bring to seven the number of plaintiffs who are suing the former Sacramento real estate titan for invasion of privacy and other claims.

"Specifically, these three individuals are former nannies, baby sitters and family friends who visited Lyon's Sacramento residence and Tahoe cabin and were videotaped without their knowledge and while in personal and private areas," state documents filed in Sacramento Superior Court.

"Notably, the criminal statute of limitations is such that the only recourse for these family friends and guests is through the civil court system."

Lyon's civil attorney, Rudy Nolen, did not respond to a request for comment Friday.

The latest claim was filed by Sacramento attorney Robert Zimmerman, who represents all seven alleged victims – six women and a man who were family friends, baby sitters or nannies for the Lyon family.

None of the alleged victims has been identified publicly, but claim in their allegations against Lyon that he filmed them through an elaborate system of hidden cameras in his Arden Arcade home and the family cabin near Lake Tahoe.

The latest three came forward after receiving notification from prosecutors that they had been filmed, court documents indicate.

"These additional plaintiffs only recently discovered the bases for their causes of action when they were contacted by the Sacramento County District Attorney's office and asked to identify images of themselves depicted on videotapes recorded by defendants," court documents state.

Zimmerman told The Bee that his clients' ordeal of being summoned by law enforcement to identify themselves on secret recordings has been devastating.

"There's anger, humiliation, a sense of violation and disgust," the attorney said. "That's continuing on."

Settlement talks between the parties broke down this fall and "went nowhere," he said.

Zimmerman is seeking to add the latest plaintiffs to a suit he filed against Lyon on Oct. 20, 2010, while the former head of Lyon Real Estate was embroiled in a criminal case over his secret recordings.

Lyon, 55, pleaded guilty in March to four felony counts of electronic eavesdropping over charges that he had secretly videotaped his interactions with prostitutes. Federal and state prosecutors had investigated him in connection with secret videotaping of family friends and nannies, as well, but eventually determined the statute of limitations of those incidents had lapsed.

Lyon served a month in jail and then was under home detention in Carmichael under GPS monitoring until several weeks ago. He remains on probation and has apologized for his actions, which led him to announce his departure from his family real estate firm. The scandal also contributed to the bitter breakup of his 24-year marriage.

The latest court filing mirrors claims made against Lyon during the criminal investigations, describing sophisticated efforts to conceal cameras inside his homes.

"In particular, recent and ongoing investigation has revealed certain of the videos created by Lyon appear to have been taken with a camera lens perched in the ceiling vents of bathrooms, which allowed the camera to capture images of individuals using the showers in Lyon's residences," the court filing states.

"Indeed, there are compilations of videos depicting women taking multiple showers at his residences that have been placed on videotapes labeled with the woman's name and 'XX.' "

The court papers say the videos include footage of a hand adjusting the camera focus "immediately before or simultaneously with the recording of individuals in private activities."

"There are also video images of a man resembling defendant Lyon adjusting a clock radio with a hidden camera lens in the guest bathroom of his residence just minutes before a high school-aged female came in to use the bathroom," the documents state.

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