MISSION, Kan. — Prosecutors say Chris Symington had just completed probation for his first crime by two days, when he then committed crime number two at a Hobby Lobby in Mission.
Now instead of being sentenced to probation, he’s going to prison.
Symington, 38, will serve six months in a state prison after admitting he tried to use his cell phone to secretly record video under a woman’s skirt at a Hobby Lobby last April. Prosecutors say he was in the checkout line when he pretended to drop candy on the floor next to a female customer.
“He actually dropped it, took a picture, picked it back up and then pretended to tie his shoe immediately thereafter and attempted to take another photograph,” Assistant Johnson County Prosecutor Jason Covington said.
Another customer saw what he was doing and followed Symington out to the parking lot. He had finished probation two days before after pleading guilty two years earlier to a similar crime at the Nill Brothers Sporting Goods in Overland Park.
He worked at the store when he was caught trying to “up skirt” two girls trying on bathing suits in a dressing room.
“He had walked by and taken an iPhone and stuck it underneath into the changing area and was recording them,” Covington said.
The manager for Nill Brothers didn’t want to go on camera, but said that Symington had worked at the store for about 10 years when they fired him for the “up skirting” incident. And after that they changed all the dressing rooms. The doors no longer go down to the knee, they go down all the way to the floor.
“Based upon our concern of his repeated history we filed an upward departure, which would allow us to seek a prison sentence,” Covington said.
It turns out that Symington is a former high school teacher who pleaded guilty in 2002 to giving alcohol and having sex with two 16-year-old girls at Lathrop High School, which is an hour north of the metro.
“He’ll continue to be on the sex offender registry for the rest of his life,” Covington said.
Because the Hobby Lobby arrest happened two days after Symington had finished probation for his first “up skirting” case, prosecutors couldn’t charge him with violating his probation. Otherwise he would’ve received a lot more time than the six months he was sentenced on Friday.