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School bathroom video case hearing next Monday

A Monday, February 13, Oakland County Circuit Court pretrial hearing has been set for David Plumat, the former director of dining services, as a contract employee of food service supplier Chartwells, at the Cranbrook Kingswood Upper School in Bloomfield Hills following his arrest in December 2022 for allegedly taking a video of a student in a bathroom stall.


Bloomfield Hills police records, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Downtown Newsmagazine, indicate the incident occurred in late 2022


Legal counsel for Bloomfield Hills refused to identify the suspect by name, citing an allowed exemption in the FOIA to assure a “fair trial” for the accused, but public circuit court records allowed Plumat to be identified.


His position as dining services director for the Upper School involved supervision of about 15 employees at an approximate annual salary of $61,500, according to job search information posted in January to fill the now vacant position at the school. Plumat had held the position since September 2021, according to his LinkedIn page..


Downtown Newsmagazine became aware of the incident in January, after Cranbrook Director of Schools Jeff Suzik sent a January 3 email to families to address the incident. Suzik had issued a previous email on December 16, the day the incident occurred, telling members of the school community, “This afternoon one of our students entered a men's restroom and had a concerning interaction with a male dining services employee.” According to Suzik's email, the student returned to class and notified adults in the school who then contacted police.


The Cranbrook Director of Schools issued an email update on January 31 which said, “We now can share that the incident involved the unacceptable use of video recording with a cellphone by the former Chartwells employee. We have also learned that the police discovered a second video of an apparently similar nature on the phone, but we have no information at this time as to the subject or location of the recording.”


The January 31 email update also noted Cranbrook had also been made aware that local media were now focusing on the incident but no further information would be provided to members of the press. Information from the Downtown Newsmagazine FOIA request was provided to the publication by Bloomfield Hills legal counsel on January 30 and a story was posted online on February 3.


According to police reports, officers responded about 3:19 p.m. on December 16 for a suspicious person report. Upon arrival, they spoke with administrators who said an adult employee – later identified as a Chartwells employee – used his cell phone to take a video of a student in the adjacent bathroom stall.


The victim told officers he was preparing to use the bathroom when he noticed someone holding a phone under the base of his stall. Officers said the victim could see the red light on the front-facing camera, indicating it was recording. The victim then exited the stall and confronted Plumat, demanding to see the footage.


Police said the Plumat claimed he was checking his LinkedIn account while sitting on the toilet, and accidentally dropped his phone on the ground. Officers arrested Plumat on suspicion of capturing an image of an unclothed person, a felony punishable by five years in prison. He was booked into the Oakland County Jail on a $15,000 bond but posted bond and has since been released.


Investigators also searched the man’s cell phone. Police reports indicate a second video was found on the man’s phone that was recorded on November 13, 2022. Investigators said the nine-second video shows a person being recorded who appeared to be sitting on the toilet with their pants around their ankles.


Suzik confirmed in his emails that Plumat no longer works for Chartwells, and is prohibited from entering the school property or contacting staff or students.


“Through an abundance of caution, we have taken steps to ensure that, moving forward, Chartwells employees in all schoolhouses will only use restrooms specifically identified as single-occupancy or adult-use only,” he said.


Additionally, Suzik said a full background check was completed on Plumat prior to his employment on campus.


“We remain vigilantly committed to the thorough state of federal criminal background checking procedures that we already have in place for all prospective Cranbrook Educational Community employees, which includes fingerprinting,” he said. “We continue to apply these protocols to all Chartwells employees on the Cranbrook campus.”


Downtown Newsmagazine attempted to search possible criminal history on Plumat but to no avail.


The court case has been assigned to Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Kwame L. Rowe. The pretrial hearing has been set for 1:30 p.m. next Monday.


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