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Organization says ‘upskirting’ allegations against metro man highlight serious problem

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ROELAND PARK, Kan. -- New details have been released about a man accused of “upskirting” five teenage girls at a Roeland Park QuikTrip. The Johnson County district attorney says a 63-year-old man placed his cell phone on the ground and recorded under the skirts of the five girls on four separate occasions.

John Britton, Sr. of Louisburg, Kan., is charged with five counts of breach of privacy for unlawfully recording under the girls' clothing. A concerned citizen called police to report the incident in January.

Police say when they reviewed the gas station's surveillance footage, they saw Britton stand behind the girls in line, place his phone on the floor and act as if he was tying his shoe. Police say Britton was questioned and detectives found four videos of interest in his cellphone's deleted folder.

Upskirting is something that needs to be taken seriously according to the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault. MOCSA says it’s working with students in three school districts to give them tools to deal with this problem.

MOCSA says most people are busy, plugged into technology and comfortable with their surroundings, and may not realize when an upskirting incident is taking place.

FOX 4 is told everyone needs to be aware of what's going on around them to prevent acts like upskirting from happening. When you’re in line and ready to make a purchase, all eyes are typically on the person at the register or the person ahead of you.

Just as you may be watching someone in front of you, someone may be behind you and taking your picture. That's what police say happened to the five young girls between the ages of 14 to 18 in January.

"When you see something that looks out of the ordinary, trust your instincts, do something about it," said MOCSA President and CEO Julie Donelon.

MOCSA says counselors are teaching students at six middle and high school across the metro on how to take action when they see sexually suspicious activity.

“Let them know that you’re watching them so if you see somebody that looks like they're taking pictures, certainly ask them or tell somebody else so they can get involved and help you with that situation,” said Donelon.

Donelon says sometimes it's not safe to intervene alone, so it's important to tell a store manager, principal, security guard or police officer if you witness something like this at a store, a school or elsewhere. MOCSA says so far its programming around upskirting and other sexually violent acts has reached more than 900 students.