GAINESVILLE, Fla. – A state prosecutor is being investigated after a woman claimed he videotaped her as she was getting undressed in a Gainesville tanning salon.
Assistant State Attorney William R. Ezzell of the 8th Circuit, which serves Gainesville and the surrounding areas, resigned Tuesday amid allegations of video voyeurism.
Ezzell was most recently in charge of the Levy County office, but he prosecuted the recent high-profile Pedro Bravo murder trial. Sources told News4Jax that Ezzell also worked on several sex-crime cases, which makes the allegations against him that much more alarming.
The 51-year-old victim told detectives Thursday she went into a booth at the Tan USA at 6783 W. Newberry Road and started to undress. Then, she looked up and saw a black phone with a light on pointed at her. Someone was holding it above the wall from the next room over.
According to the police report, she screamed, "What are you doing!"
Employees told investigators that the man next door remained calm and denied doing anything. They called police and soon found out the man was a state prosecutor.
News4Jax reporter Vic Micolucci spoke with the victim, who said she stands behind her allegations but declined an on-the-record interview. She said she is still shaken by the incident and asked that she not be identified.
As of Tuesday, Ezzell had not been arrested, but Gainesville police detectives have filed a sworn complaint against him recommending charges of video voyeurism, which is a third-degree felony. The Governor's Office appointed a special prosecutor in Marion County, State Attorney Brad King, to take over the case and determine if Ezzell will be charged.
Those who visit TanUSA, like college student Holley Harbuck, were shocked and disturbed to hear the allegations against someone whose job it is to protect those who live in this community.
"It is definitely something concerning me," Harbuck said. "Because it is really always in the back of your mind whenever you go to a tanning salon or anything like that."
News4Jax attempted to contact Ezzell several times Tuesday but received no response. A woman who answered the phone at Ezzell's home declined to comment.
Tan USA issued this statement: "Tan USA has been in business in Gainesville for over 27 years and has maintained an impeccable record of service during that time. We take the privacy of our clients very seriously. We are in shock along with the rest of the city to learn that our District State Attorney, Mr. Ezzell, could have committed a crime of this nature and we are assisting the Police Department in every way possible."