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City of Austin votes on settlement with firefighter filmed in AFD bathroom

Kelly Gall was filmed by a supervisor in 2017. He retired from the department without serving jail time.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council on Thursday voted to pass an $85,000 settlement with a firefighter who sued after she was filmed while changing in an Austin Fire Department bathroom.

The incident occurred in the summer of 2017, when Kelly Gall worked at Fire Station One on Fifth Street in Downtown Austin with her supervisor and friend James Baker. Around that time, she had told him she was temporarily leaving Station One for a few months to serve as a team leader at the Fire Academy.

She said when she told him that, he was "very disgusted and angry" that she would be leaving their station, although it was temporary.

In 2019, Gall told KVUE that during that time, Baker sent a number of strange messages: A picture of himself alone on a couch with the caption, "Here are my shifts now," and another that read, "Miss you so much."

She said to appease her friend, she volunteered to come back to work at the station on Labor Day, which is when she said he recorded her. She said she had just returned from a call when she went to take a shower and saw Baker exiting the bathroom. 

James Baker.

After she showered, she said she found something in the shelves – a camera.

"And I was drying myself off, and we had quite a bit of stuff on the shelves in the bathroom, and I just happen to remember looking up at the Christmas lights and remember seeing something blue and I thought, 'Wow, what is that? We use clear Christmas lights, what is that blue light?'" Gall said.

Gall said that Baker eventually owned up to the camera.

"At that time, [he] admitted that the camera was his, apologized, 'I'm so sorry, I care about you so much, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' I didn't know what to say, so I just let him talk," she explained.

What followed next was a difficult battle through the criminal justice system, which she said failed her.

"I think dealing with the criminal side was almost worse than dealing with the incident itself ... We are so confused," she said. "You've got the video recording of him committing the crime, he's confessing to the crime. I never understood, why wouldn't we take it to trial?"

Baker reached an agreement with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in exchange for five years of deferred probation. While he did not serve jail time, he did retire from the department.


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