Updated 6/13/ 2019 at 8:30 p.m. to reflect new information via MLive.
An Eastern Michigan University employee is accused of recording a relative and her boyfriend participating in sex acts via hidden cameras, according to Channel 4/Click On Detroit. Michael Pickerel, an EMU alum and staff member at the College of Business’s Dean’s office, did not have hidden cameras on school property but was placed on administrative leave on June 10 in relation to the accusations.
Pickerel, who has worked for Eastern the past 20 years, also runs a side security business, Security Operation Services, where 15 of his employees said he refused to pay them overtime. Pickerel told investigators from the Department of Labor that he had paid the $26,000 in overtime and produced fake documents to prove it. This falsifying of documents and lying to investigators lead to police confiscating his computer, where the hidden camera videos were found.
According to Channel 4, Pickerel said that he set up the cameras to record his relative and her boyfriend because he was attracted to the boyfriend, admitting to pleasuring himself to the videos as well. There are allegedly 37 such videos that were found in the Google Drive Pickerel used for business records.
Still, that did not stop Pickerel from asking several EMU staff and faculty members to write letters to the judge last fall when he faced sentencing for the two convictions of lying to investigators. He noted that they did not know about the secret videos when writing the letters praising his character. In a statement, the university explained the letters were written “personally, and not in any way on behalf of the university, or with its knowledge.”
In March 2018, he was charged with one count of falsifying records and one count of making false statements. Pickerel pleaded guilty to those charges in May 2018 and was sentenced to two years of probation.
EMU Human Resources first learned of the convictions and allegations against Pickerel on June 7, 2019 and began an internal investigation that day. What followed was the university starting its own investigation on June 10, which lead to Pickerel being placed on leave, per EMU’s Collective Bargaining Agreement for employees.
Despite the hidden cameras and violation of privacy, the two victims of Pickerel’s recording have chosen to not press charges. As reported by Channel 4, Pickerel said, “The U.S. attorney was trying to push them because this was part of my ‘history of manipulation’ and ‘how I was so masterful in manipulating the judicial system.’”