Gwen Gabert, left, and Tally Thomas claim they are both victims in an alleged voyeurism case involving a former FWHS boys basketball player in 2016. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Gwen Gabert, left, and Tally Thomas claim they are both victims in an alleged voyeurism case involving a former FWHS boys basketball player in 2016. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Former Students Speak Out About Federal Way Voyeurism Scandal

Past basketball player faces voyeurism charges; district conducting its own investigation.

As the basketball season ramps up this week at Federal Way High School and the program scrambles in the wake of the head coach’s administrative leave over an alleged voyeurism scandal, a second woman is speaking out against a former basketball player who she claims filmed her during a sexual encounter.

The suspect allegedly filmed former student Gwen Gabert while she performed a sex act with him, and on a separate occasion he hid in a closet and filmed another former student, Tally Thomas, during her sexual encounter with another basketball player, the women claim.

Federal Way detectives, who filed the case with the King County Prosecutor’s Office on Nov. 9, are recommending that prosecutors charge the suspect with two counts of voyeurism.

“I would never have been able to share my story if you didn’t share your story,” Gabert told Thomas before hugging her during a dual interview with the Federal Way Mirror at their attorney Joan Mell’s law office in Fircrest. “The second I found out I was like, ‘Tally, I support you.’ I am so glad you said something.”

Thomas came forward when she filed a tort claim against Federal Way Public Schools in October for $3.5 million. She claimed the suspect videotaped her against her will, and also alleged that the school’s head basketball coach, Jerome Collins, was aware of this incident, had watched the video in question and failed to report the situation to authorities. The school district subsequently placed Collins on paid administrative leave.

Gabert, now 20 years old, recounted the incident and how it has impacted her life. On the day of her 18th birthday on Jan. 26, 2016, she had a sexual encounter with the suspect after school in a car. Then she went to the school’s senior night where she met up with him.

“And I bought him a Gatorade, and a balloon and a piece of candy and was like … I like him and I’m going to support him and be nice to him,” Gabert recalled, noting that by that point the suspect had “probably sent [the video] to all of his friends, all of the basketball players … and I was just this joke on the sidelines, like everyone thought I was just this whore and I was trying to be supportive and nice and that just speaks to my character …”

She found out about the alleged video approximately two weeks later, around the same time when Thomas discovered a similar incident had allegedly happened to her. “So two weeks later would’ve been when you were finding out, which is crazy,” Gabert said to Thomas. “Maybe [the videos] got sent around at the same time.”

A male student had notified Gabert that there was a video of her circulating via a group chat. “I just kept getting messages from guys about a video,” Gabert recalled.

She said she “had no idea” the suspect allegedly recorded their encounter. “I trusted him, which was so stupid of me,” she said as she cried and apologized for the many sensitive details she relayed. She added she was unaware that the suspect was allegedly filming her.

She didn’t report the incident to police until a month later because she was “trying to forgive him and I didn’t want to ruin his life. I didn’t want to ruin his potential. I didn’t want to do something that would hurt his life.”

Thomas, now age 19, was 17 when the alleged voyeurism incident happened to her, but she couldn’t recall the exact date it happened. She found out about it on her 18th birthday, Feb. 13, 2016—the week before the basketball state championships. She said guys at school were “saying stuff” about the video so she told her dad, who had a meeting with the two boys and coach Collins. The following day she had a meeting with the boys and Collins.

“So what happened in my meeting with the coach was he tried to tell me that he was going to have the two boys just not play at state,” Thomas recalled. “And I was like please, in God’s name do not do that because if they don’t win the state championship when they’re supposed to, everybody at school is going to blame me. So let’s not do that.”

She said it felt “very much so” like the coach guilted her into acquiescing.

“In the meeting [the suspect] the entire time was kind of laughing about it. And it made me really, really upset and uncomfortable,” Thomas noted. “The other boy was crying and apologizing and felt awful about it, so that was pretty normal. But [the suspect] was just kind of smirking.” She said coach Collins seemed “more like, ‘let’s try to figure this out and get this out of the way so that we don’t have to deal with it anymore.’” Thomas added that some of the other basketball coaches “definitely knew” about the video, as “other boys on the team let me know.”

Collins told the Mirror that he would “love to comment, but [since] this is an ongoing investigation, I’m advised not to make any comments at this time.”

Read more of this story at seattleweekly.com.

Gwen Gabert, left, and Tally Thomas embrace after sharing their stories of an alleged voyeurism scandal. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Gwen Gabert, left, and Tally Thomas embrace after sharing their stories of an alleged voyeurism scandal. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Gwen Gabert is the second women to come forward claiming a former FWHS boys basketball player secretly filmed her during a sexual act and sent the video to others. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

Gwen Gabert is the second women to come forward claiming a former FWHS boys basketball player secretly filmed her during a sexual act and sent the video to others. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

More in News & Comment

Proposal Calls For Banning Eye Tattoos in Washington State

Canada has already banned this procedure

Split Washington In Two? 51st State Movement Highlights Cultural Divide

Rep. Matt Shea of Spokane introduces bill to establish state in Eastern Washington called Liberty

Repercussions Could Come To Law Enforcement Who Refuse I-1639

‘State and local law enforcement must uphold Washington law.’

Despite Supreme Court Ruling, Activists Fight Youth Incarceration

No New Youth Jail Coalition members send Valentines to King County officials asking them to reconsider funding priorities

Tukwila Businesses Face Uncertain Future With Arrival Of Justice Center

Immigrant communities in Tukwila and SeaTac are under pressure.

Andy Bronson / The Herald 
                                Southbound traffic backs up as northbound drivers cruise on with ease on the Highway 99 viaduct on Tuesday, January 8.
WSDOT Hopes ‘Viadoom’ Habits Continue

The department credits commuters with adapting to the closure and mitigating impacts.

President’s Emergency Declaration Sparks Immediate Legal Backlash

Attorney General Bob Ferguson said his team will sue the White House if federal funds originally intended for Washington state are interrupted.

Bill Targets Sexual Health Curriculum in Washington Schools

Senate Bill 5395 is co-sponsored by 17 Democratic representatives and introduced by Sen. Claire Wilson, D-Federal Way.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline.
Study Shows King County’s Treatment Funding Is Making Progress

A document on the county’s .1 percent health sales tax was accepted Wednesday by the county council.

Most Read