Vile act: Woman’s horror on escalator
A STAFF member at a prominent university was caught filming up a woman's skirt when the shocked victim felt a mobile phone touch her upper thigh and found a man hunched forward with his phone under the hem of her dress.
The woman was on an escalator at Central Railway Station in Sydney on October 12 last year when she felt the presence of someone standing very close behind her. She turned around and found Karl Edwin Skow, 59, with his head down as he looked closely at his 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 explained.
"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."
Skow pleaded guilty to three counts of intentionally recording intimate images without consent when he appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court today.
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 is 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 today.
"The university first became aware of this matter when it was reported in the media today 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 today, which was accepted by the university with immediate effect.
"As it is currently the subject of legal proceedings, the university will provide no further comment on the specifics of this case.
"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 his manner when he was questioned about the offence.
"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.
Skow was released on bail and will return to court on May 30 for sentencing.