Crime

Police say they found 90 voyeur videos of 19 victims taken by former Bellingham Slam GM

Bellingham police detail investigation into locker room videos

Police describe the investigation into former Bellingham Slam GM Kip Leonetti at a press conference Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Leonetti is suspected of recording two men as they showered at Seattle Pacific University.
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Police describe the investigation into former Bellingham Slam GM Kip Leonetti at a press conference Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018. Leonetti is suspected of recording two men as they showered at Seattle Pacific University.

After a four-month investigation, Bellingham Police say they located 90 illegally recorded videos of 19 victims taken in locker rooms and bathrooms on the cell phone and other electronic devices of former Bellingham Slam general manager and associate coach Kip Leonetti, but they believe he acted alone.

Police began their investigation on Sept. 4, after a tip from two men who believed they were being video recorded at a Seattle gym. Eight days later, Leonetti was found dead in a Spokane-area hotel of an apparent suicide.

According to a press release, forensic investigators obtained search warrants and analyzed Leonetti’s devices, discovering 90 video files containing recorded footage of voyeurism in locker rooms and bathrooms at venues where the Slam practiced or played.

All videos were believed to have been recorded by Leonetti using his cell phone, and none are believed to have been taken on the Western Washington University campus, where Leonetti also worked at the Wade King Student Recreation Center.

Videos of 17 men and two women — all adults — were found on Leonetti’s electronic devices, and police were able to identify all but one of the victims, according to the release.

Investigators have reached 14 of the men and one of the women, but contact information for the remaining four victims was not found. Victim support services were offered to each person contacted.

Investigators determined Leonetti was acting alone, the release said, and there was no evidence that he shared the video.

Police began their investigation Sept. 4 after receiving a report from two men who believed they were being video recorded while taking a shower after a Crawsover Pro-Am League game in August at Seattle Pacific University.

The suspect in the complaint was identified as Leonetti.

Bellingham Police asked WWU Police to assist in the investigation, and Leonetti was contacted Sept. 6, interviewed and released while probable cause for an arrest was developed. Leonetti’s phone was seized and police obtained a search warrant to seize other electronic devices. They confirmed the unlawfully recorded images.

On Sept. 12, Spokane Police Department said that Leonetti was found dead of an apparent suicide in a Spokane-area hotel.

Due to his death, no charges are being filed, the release said, and the case is closed.

The Bellingham Slam have not been available for contact since end of last summer’s Pro-Am league, and the contact page on the team’s website has been removed.

The Bellingham Slam began play in the American Basketball Association in 2005, playing its home games at Whatcom Community College. Players on the Slam roster ranged in age from high school players to former college players. During its two seasons in the ABA, the Slam advanced to the quarterfinals both seasons.

Leonetti served as vice president of operations for the team in its inaugural season and later assumed the role of general manager.

The team announced it was switching to the International Basketball League in 2007, where it went on to win four league titles in 2009, 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Slam decided to suspend operations in 2015 after the IBL changed its format.

After nearly two years in hiatus, the team returned in 2016 to play in the Seattle Pro-Am league, which is now known as the Crawsover Pro-Am League, playing its entire league schedule the past three years in Seattle.

The Slam went 5-4 in 2018, losing 120-111 to the Vancouver S.B. Battle in the quarterfinals of a league tournament Aug. 19 in Seattle.

If you need help

The Bellingham Police offered the following confidential support service recommendations:

Lummi Victims of Crime, 360-312-2015

▪ Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services, 360-715-1563

▪ For WWU students: Student Counseling Center at 360-650-3164F

▪ For WWU employees: Washington State Employee Assistance Program at 1-877-313-4455 and after hours 1-866-313-6364

▪ If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.
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