GRAPEVINE, Texas - A North Texas pastor is suing a former sales director and the car dealership where he worked over claims that the worker invaded his privacy by sharing private pictures of his wife.
Grapevine police say Matthew Thomas, a former employee at Texas Toyota of Grapevine, took advantage of a few minutes alone with a customer's cell phone when he accessed private photos and emailed nude pictures of the customer's wife to a third party.
Tim and Claire Gautreaux, along with their attorney, Gloria Allred, announced on Thursday they have gone a step beyond the criminal case and are suing both Thomas and the dealership.
Allred explained how the staff ended up with the Frisco pastor's phone.
"Tim had downloaded an application onto his cell phone for pre-approved financing," she explained. "The sales person asked to see the application and then told Tim and Claire he needed to show the phone to his manager to get the financing approved."
Tim says when they got the phone back and opened it, a private photo of his wife appeared. And according to the lawsuit, they later found evidence that it and another similar photo had been emailed.
"He was able to ascertain that two photos of his wife, one while she was stepping into the bathtub and the other when she was getting out, were sent to an email associated with swingers," Allred said. "He was also able to determine the name of the individual who had sent the photos."
"I was shocked when I found out that my private photos had been looked through then sent to an email address that was connected to a swingers website,' Tim said. "And then that the perpetrator attempted to delete and hide all evidence of what he had done."
The details are outlined in the criminal complaint against Thomas, who is charged with computer security breach. His case is pending with the Tarrant County District Attorney's Office.
"We were at a Toyota dealership to buy a car and not to share anything about our lives with the people there,"Claire said. "I feel that my privacy and dignity were taken away."
Thomas is out of jail on a $5,000 bond. His next court date is set for December 29.
The dealership declined to comment on the lawsuit.