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Charges: Cottage Grove man used cameras to watch woman, teen

A Cottage Grove man is charged with using small cameras to watch a woman and her teenage daughter in their home.

Washington County prosecutors allege that Scott E. Olson, 37, mounted wireless cameras in a bathroom and other areas of a Cottage Grove house without the victims' knowledge. Olson was charged this week with interfering with the privacy of a minor, a felony, and interfering with privacy at a home, a gross misdemeanor. The alleged victims knew Olson.

According to Cottage Grove police and the Washington County District Court criminal complaint:

The mother called police after an Aug. 22 incident in which the 15-year-old girl encountered Olson as he was leaving the bathroom. The girl turned the shower on and then saw a small camera on the bathroom wall near where Olson had been standing.

Cottage Grove police investigated the case and on Aug. 30 conducted a search warrant at a Woodbury home where Olson had been staying.

The complaint says that in an interview with investigators, Olson admitted that he placed cameras in the bathroom and throughout the house to view the 40-year-old woman and her daughter. He said he knew the girl was 15 years old.

Cottage Grove police investigator Matt Foucault said in an interview that Olson told police he was just viewing what was captured on the wireless cameras, not recording or taping footage. He told police he would attach the small camera to a curtain rod in the bathroom, Foucault said.

Police recovered several wireless cameras and two computers that Olson left at the Cottage Grove home.

"We're looking at his computer to see if he has any recordings," Foucault said. Woodbury police are assisting with that forensic investigation.

Olson was arrested Tuesday at the Woodbury home where police had conducted the search warrant last month. He was booked into Washington County Jail and released Wednesday after posting $3,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 12.

The police investigation is not complete, Foucault said, and more criminal charges are possible.

The felony charge carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a $4,000 fine.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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