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Attorney seeks to reclassify suit as class action lawsuit against Jeremy Nelson

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. - A class action lawsuit is pending against a man and his former employer in connection to cameras found in restrooms and changing areas of several businesses.

In October 2014 Jeremy Nelson was arrested after police found out he had placed video cameras in the restroom and changing areas of several businesses in Madison County, including Ann's Dance Studio and WHNT News 19.

Nelson pleaded guilty in 2015 in Federal Court to four counts of sexual exploitation of a child, two counts of possession of child pornography, and one count of distribution of child pornography. He was sentenced to 140 years in prison.

There have been at least 100 different victims come forward since the story came out. They have all contacted attorney Eric Artrip who filed the lawsuit against Nelson and James Starkey, the owner of the company that employed Nelson at the time.

Artrip says currently the lawsuit is pending in Madison County as a class action suit. It was something all the plaintiffs involved agreed to do. He says potential Ann's Studio Dance class members were contacted recently to inform them about the change.

"There has been a motion presented by the plaintiffs to have this certified as a class. in other words, proceed as a single action, where only representative parties will actually have to be involved," said Artrip.

Nelson's actions have left hundreds of potential victims feeling angry and violated after he placed cameras in restrooms and changing areas in three Madison County businesses.

"The cameras were motion-activated and used to record the people using the facilities in those three buildings. They were placed there as a result of him being allowed access to do the janitorial services."

Artrip says this is why the class action suit names Nelson and the former company he worked for, Sanitary Systems. Artrip doesn't have to prove Sanitary Systems owner, James Starkey, knew about the cameras.

"Rather what's required is, was Nelson a covered person under the insurance policies at issue. And then does his conduct qualify for coverage under the insurance policies," said Artrip.

He says they are looking for compensation for the plaintiffs. Most of them are young children who attended Ann's Dance Studio.

"We don't know if those images were shared over the internet or not. So it's that very real danger of future embarrassment, future anxiety, the future mental anguish, if you will, of having their images shared over the internet," said Artrip.

Artrip says they are also asking for an injunction from the court to make Nelson, Starkey, and the employer aware they have to keep a close eye on their employees and what they are doing.

Last year, Nelson filed a motion to reduce his sentencing. He claimed the sentencing was unreasonable.