Church leader fired for secretly photographing woman inside H&M dressing room

Elise Solé
Steven Murdock of Salt Lake City, Utah was arrested for snapping photos of a woman getting undressed inside an H&M changing room. (Photo: Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

A Mormon church member was fired for covertly photographing a woman in a dressing room inside H&M.

On Aug. 13th, Steven Murdock, 55, a leader at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Salt Lake City, Utah, was visiting Tennessee with his wife, when the couple stopped at the Opry Mills Mall in Nashville. While his wife shopped, Murdock stationed himself at the dressing room, presenting himself as an employee.

According to Fox 17, Murdock guided shopper Alondra Alcala into a changing room, then, while she removed her top, he positioned his iPhone camera over the stall door. “I thought it was a joke,” Alcala told Fox 17. “I thought it was a prank, I thought somebody was just messing with me."

Realizing she was on film, “I freaked out, I froze,” Alcala said, adding that she switched rooms, only to find the same man inside. “Unfortunately, I felt disgusted with myself. I felt like what did I do wrong, what if I wouldn’t have done this, or wouldn’t have worn this,” Alcala told Fox 17. “I did feel violated, I felt gross, why is this happening to me?”

Steven Murdock, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Utah, was arrested for photographing a woman inside an H&M changing room. (Photo: Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

While somebody called 911, Alcala grabbed Murdock but he started deleting photos from his phone. However, the woman grabbed the phone and ran away.

A spokesperson from the Davison County Criminal Court did not immediately respond to a records request from Yahoo Lifestyle, but an arrest affidavit obtained by Fox 17 stated that Murdock’s wife asked his victim to not call the police. According to the news outlet, Murdock was charged with “unlawful photography” and paid $1,000 for his release from the Davidson County jail the following morning.

According to court records accessed by Yahoo Lifestyle, Murdock will appear in front of a judge on Sept. 6.

“It can happen to anyone. Anyone can be a victim of this, men, women, children, anybody,” Alcala told Fox 17. “I would just say be alert, be aware of your surroundings, and don’t be afraid to speak up, because this sort of stuff is real.”

A spokesperson from H&M tells Yahoo Lifestyle, “The safety and wellbeing of our customers is our first priority. We are cooperating with the local authorities as this remains an ongoing investigation.”

Eric Hawkins, church spokesperson tells Yahoo Lifestyle:

"This type of behavior is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated from any Church member. This individual had previously served as a bishop (volunteer, unpaid leader) of a local congregation, and then as a high councilor (a volunteer position that helps with the administration of several local congregations). When local leaders learned of the arrest and charges, he was immediately removed from all responsibilities. A person that engages in this type of behavior may have their Church privileges restricted or may face the potential loss of Church membership."

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