Victim of Infamous Los Alamos Bathroom Cam Files Suit

The female firefighter who was the target of an infamous bathroom cam stunt back in 2010 has filed suit against the Los Alamos County Fire Department and the firefighters who allegedly perpetrated the “extreme sexual exploitation”.

Jessie Noah was the target of a video camera hidden in the towel dispenser in the women’s bathroom in a Los Alamos County fire station in October, 2010. It was placed there by Fire Captain Aaron Adair, then 36.

Adair resigned and was charged criminally with voyeurism and tampering with evidence. The tampering charge was brought because after Noah discovered the camera, Adair ordered her to give him the memory card just before she turned the camera over to police investigators.

According to the complaint:

“50. After she left the station, Ms. Noah regretted giving the memory chip to Captain Adair. She called Captain Adair and asked him to return it. He told her that he had destroyed it. He also said that if anyone asked him about the camera, he would say that he was not the one who had put it in the bathroom, that he never confessed to Ms. Noah, and that Ms. Noah was a liar. Captain Adair’s actions were intimidating and coercive.”

“ 51. Thereafter Captain Adair and Jerry Adair [his brother and a LACFD firefighter] both separately confessed to police to placing the camera in Ms. Noah’s bathroom.

“52. Captain Adair admitted that he hid the camera in the bathroom expressly for the purpose of capturing images of Ms. Noah.

“53. Jerry Adair later attempted to retract his confession, saying he lied to the police.

“54. According to Captain Adair, he destroyed the camera’s memory chip…”

Aaron Adair pled guilty and was placed on probation. No charges were brought against his brother.

But the bathroom cam incident alone was not the sole basis for Noah’s lawsuit. Her allegations include the following:

“21. The male-dominated environment at the LAFD stations was sexually charged, rife with sexually explicit materials, and hostile to women. Male firefighters talked about women and sex constantly and made sexist and derogatory jokes. There were magazines depicting scantily clad women in LAFD bathrooms and male firefighters regularly viewed pornographic and sexually explicit material on LAFD computers during LAFD shifts.

“22. Male firefighters leered openly and made comments about Ms. Noah’s body.

“23. Male firefighters often emailed and text messaged pornographic images, photos of nude women, and other inappropriate material to Ms. Noah.

“26. As soon as Ms. Noah started working at LAFD, male LAFD firefighters began making sexually explicit remarks to Ms. Noah, including requests for sexual favors, derogatory jokes, and other inappropriate comments.

“27. While she was in the academy, one of the male firefighters, Manny Pacheco, tried to knock her down in the hallways two times and told her that girls should be at home naked making food and babies.

“28. LAFD Chief Juan Pacheco told Ms. Noah that all the women in the fire department were “whores” or “teases.”

“29. Other male firefighters openly spoke disrespectfully about the female firefighters. They joked about “trying out” a female firefighter’s breast implants and discussed sexual positions and preferences.

“30. On one occasion, after making a hole-in-one while playing golf, Captain Wetteland asked Ms. Noah if she would give him a “hole-in-one blowjob.” He asked her this in front of Jerry Adair and other firefighters.

“31. On a separate occasion, Captain Wetteland told Ms. Noah that she should do his laundry and then give him oral sex.

“32. On another occasion, Captain Wetteland and Jerry Adair, who were drunk, came to Ms. Noah’s station and woke her up to harass her. They told her to make them food and Captain Wetteland made jokes about giving her “pinkeye” by “farting on her pillow.”

“33. On two occasions, Captain Wetteland slapped Ms. Noah on the buttocks in front of other firefighters.

“34. LAFD and LAFD’s managerial and supervisory staff were aware of the gender-biased hostile work environment and pervasive sexual harassment culture at LAFD, but failed to take any corrective action.

“35. By its failure to correct or even acknowledge the issue, LAFD condoned and implicitly encouraged sexual harassment and discrimination against female firefighters…”

The complaint names Aaron Adair, Jerry Adair, and Captain Jeff Wetteland personally and in their official capacities, as well as the Los Alamos County Fire Department and the Board of Commissioners of Los Alamos County. It  alleges constructive discharge, violations of the New Mexico Human Rights Act,  spoliation of evidence (for the destruction of the memory card), sex discrimination and harassment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, due process and equal protection violations, and conspiracy to violate Noah’s civil rights.

Here is a copy of the complaint. Noah v Los Alamos County FD

About Curt Varone

Curt Varone has over 45 years of fire service experience and 35 as a practicing attorney licensed in both Rhode Island and Maine. His background includes 29 years as a career firefighter in Providence (retiring as a Deputy Assistant Chief), as well as volunteer and paid on call experience. He is the author of two books: Legal Considerations for Fire and Emergency Services, (2006, 2nd ed. 2011, 3rd ed. 2014, 4th ed. 2022) and Fire Officer's Legal Handbook (2007), and is a contributing editor for Firehouse Magazine writing the Fire Law column.

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