Target voyeur sentenced, victim says she felt ’emotional mutilation’ following incident

Idaho Falls

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Sean Smith appears for sentencing hearing Thursday in Bonneville County. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — An 18-year-old woman who was videotaped changing inside a Target dressing room said she felt scared, dirty, humiliated and “emotionally mutilated.”

The incident happened at the Ammon store in July. On Thursday morning, the suspect, Sean “Shauna” Smith, was sentenced to five years in prison for committing the crime.

Judge Joel Tingey ordered Smith, who identifies as transgender, to serve two years fixed prison time and three years indeterminate based on a recommendation from the Department of Correction parole board.

Smith pleaded guilty to one felony count of video voyeurism in October and admitted to holding an iPhone over the top barrier of the dressing room while the woman was trying on swimwear.

The woman, who EastIdahoNews.com is not identifying, read a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing Thursday. She described her mother feeling helpless after a failed attempt to retrieve the phone from Smith as he ran from the store.

“I was left there in the dressing room feeling defeated,” she said. “I started to rub my skin thinking that I could scrape the panic off. I was scared, hyperventilating and felt humiliated.”

The victim said she has been a supporter of the transgender community, but felt betrayed by Smith’s actions. She has felt anxiety and has refused to visit another Target store since July.

She said has not entered any public restrooms or dressing rooms and won’t go into stores alone.

“I live with anxiety and fear that men will only focus on my body,” she said. “I have felt emotional mutilation.”

Smith’s defense attorney, John Thomas, agreed that his client should serve time in the state penitentiary and recommended two years in prison – with one year fixed time, the other year indeterminate.

john thomas sean smith

Smith with his attorney, John Thomas. | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com.

“He is transitioning from a man to a woman, he is on hormone therapy, he has always been conflicted on his sexuality and this was just kind of one of his outlets,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to discount the victim’s feelings in any way, but we are not talking about the crime of the century.”

After Smith’s guilty plea in October, Tingey order a psychosexual evaluation. Smith refused to turn over the results and during a pre-sentence investigation, Bonneville County Deputy Prosecutor John Dewey said Smith admitted to similar videotaping behavior in Missouri and Washington.

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Judge Joel Tingey | Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com.

Additional videos were also discovered on Smith’s phone showing other women undressing, including a possible juvenile.

“There isn’t any evidence gathered in the pre-sentence investigation that shows this defendant is admissible for treatment in the community (or that) shows this defendant is not a high risk to commit future offenses,” Dewey said.

Tingey expressed sympathy for the victim and acknowledged the situation could result in lifetime psychological effects. He ordered Smith to pay for the victim’s professional counseling for at least one year.

“I, perhaps along with others, thought that Target has now adopted a questionable policy (and wondered) is someone going to come in and victimize someone because of that,” Tingey said. “You took advantage of that and victimized this young lady.”

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