BOSTON (CBS) – Three human resources employees at Wyman-Gordon in Grafton no longer have to worry about a criminal conviction for wiretapping after they planted a hidden camera to catch a sleeping worker.
The I-Team confirmed prosecutors have dropped the charges against Matthew Domenico, Brian Gaudette and Eric Smith because they do not have video and audio evidence of the victim in the case, Mark Ferguson.
Instead, the only files investigators could recover from the camera captured a different worker—one who had no intention of pursuing charges against his employer.
Dozens of other deleted files could not be recovered, according to authorities. It is unclear who erased those.
A case file the I-Team obtained indicates a closer examination of the video clips by police revealed the mistaken identity.
“It became apparent the individual depicted in the video and audio recordings was not the named victim,” special prosecutor George Hardiman wrote in his explanation to have the case dismissed. “Commonwealth is left with no evidence the victim was video or audio recorded in violation of the Massachusetts wiretap statute.”
As the I-Team first reported in November 2015, the hidden camera allegedly captured the Wyman-Gordon employee sleeping on the job. The company fired Ferguson in April of that year.
However, prior to his termination, Ferguson had discovered the hidden camera in his work space and taken it home for a closer look.
A clip he provided to the I-Team revealed the HR employees setting up the camera. They could also be heard discussing the camera placement.
Ferguson realized if they recorded audio without his consent, it could be a violation of Massachusetts wiretapping statute. He brought the camera to the Grafton Police Department, which launched an investigation.
Following a hearing in Westborough District court, a clerk magistrate determined there was enough probable cause to move forward with the criminal charges.
The camera was examined by a forensic technician at the New England States Police Information Network (NESPIN), which recovered the video files from the device.
Lou Aloise, the attorney representing the HR employees, said his clients were relieved about the development.
“It was a nightmare for them,” Aloise said. “I wish the analysis had been done earlier, but I think everyone assumed it was Ferguson on the video clips.”
A Wyman-Gordon spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Ferguson has battled for more than two years to get his job back, going through the union arbitration process. He told the I-Team a settlement is currently being discussed.
But he also questioned why the charges had to be dropped, considering the camera captured audio of a different employee without his consent.
“If you put a pole in the water, your intent was to catch a fish,” Ferguson said on Monday. “It doesn’t matter whether or not you succeed. The intent was there.”