WILL COUNTY - A suburban restaurant owner already charged with taking up-skirt videos of employees is now facing a civil lawsuit.
It claims Michael Papandrea used a shoe camera to secretly shoot video up the skirts of eight female workers -- most of them teenagers.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers say they have uncovered more than 24,000 photographs and videos that appear to have been taken over a decade.
A complaint filed Thursday says eight young women, some of them just 16 and 14-years-old at the time, were told to wear skirts to work at Parmesan's Wood Stone Pizza, unaware that they were being "up-skirted" by their boss.
58-year old Michael Papandrea faces seventeen misdemeanor and felony charges for allegedly taking video recordings up the skirts of young female employees at his chain of Parmesan's Italian Restaurants in the south suburbs.
"What these girls didn't know and what they couldn't complain of, is that their privacy was being stolen from them, as these 16-year-olds and 14-year-olds are going to work every day," said attorney Lindsay Proskey of David A. Axelrod & Associates.
A 375-page complaint filed in circuit court alleges Papandrea installed tiny cameras in his shoes and approached these young female employees.
"And what he would do was approach the employee, rub their backs, get close to them, hug them and while he was doing so, we allege that at the same time he was covertly recording up their skirts and dresses," Proskey said.
The complaint alleges, "the employee schedule routinely instructed the hostess to ‘wear a dress or a skirt so you look like you own the place.’"
"They've had to go through a lot and these are young, young women. This is going to be a shadow over their heads for the rest of their lives," Proskey said.
Proskey says her firm has uncovered forensic evidence indicating these eight victims may just be the tip of the iceberg.
"The videos that we've seen date back at least 10 years," she said.
She urges any female employed at Papandrea's restaurants to contact police if they believe they might be a victim, too.
"Our goal going forward is victim identification. And that would start with the ISP," Proskey said.
Michael Papandrea is out on bond right now, as his criminal trial is pending in Will County. We did ask him to comment on these allegations, but he declined to speak with us.