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Brighton Man Arrested for Photographing Women in Mugar

Suspect may face two-and-a-half-year sentence


Boston University police arrested a 37-year-old man on the third floor of Mugar Memorial Library Monday night after he was seen taking pictures of female students. Scott Paré, deputy director of public safety and BU Police Department deputy chief, says Michael Lydon, 37, of Brighton, was taken into custody after police received a call from two students. Lydon was charged with secret photo, video, or electronic surveillance, a misdemeanor punishable by up to two and a half years in jail and a fine of $5,000. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday in Roxbury District Court and was released on his own recognizance.

“One of the students who tipped us off had recently attended a Public Safety Week event,” Paré says. “She knew all about the text (Tip 411) messaging, and she knew the phone number. She gave an excellent description of the suspect.”

The description allowed plainclothes police—who were already posted in the library to combat the upswing in laptop thefts that often accompanies final exams—to identify the suspect “within a couple of minutes” of the call, Paré says.

Lydon, who is not affiliated with Boston University, was escorted from the library’s third floor to the lobby, where he turned his phone over to police officers, who observed several photos of what Detective Lieutenant Peter DiDomenica describes as “an inappropriate area of women’s bodies.”

Paré says police do not consider Lydon a suspect in a recent string of incidents in the Ashford Street area in which women were pushed to the ground and photographed. “The description of the suspect in those incidents is not even close to this guy,” he says. “In those cases we are looking for a 22-year-old Hispanic man.”

Lindsay Korn (CAS’13) says she thinks the situation was handled well. “But,” she says, “only BU faculty and students should be allowed to enter Mugar so that this type of situation won’t happen again.”

“I’m not wary of Mugar,” says Kaitlyn Hall (CAS’13), who was heartened by the police response. “This is the first dangerous experience that I’ve heard of happening there in the last four years, and it sounds like BU handled it quickly and well.”

Kavita Patel (SMG’13) found the incident creepy. “It’s not like I won’t work at Mugar now,” she says, “but it’s definitely very strange. Security should be higher in the library too, because it’s such an easy way to target a large group of students, especially during finals.”

Contacted by email, Poorva Bhade (CAS’13) responded with a note saying, “I’m here now and some guy is walking around telling the men to put away their phones even if they are just studying, so it was a swift response, but I don’t know if telling everyone to put away their phones is reasonable.”

Lydon is scheduled to return to court on February 20, 2013, for a pretrial hearing.

Art Jahnke

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu.

58 Comments on Brighton Man Arrested for Photographing Women in Mugar

  • Lauren on 12.06.2012 at 8:04 am

    How is it possible that a person can enter the library without an ID? As a parent of a female student, I find this very disturbing. Perhaps BU needs to re-examine their security policies.

    • bu student on 12.06.2012 at 10:59 am

      you don’t need an id to be in the library. the entrance is inside the gsu, which is open to pretty much anyone

      • Former BU Student on 12.06.2012 at 1:16 pm

        The entrance to Mugar is not in the GSU, it is next to the GSU, but it does function as a library accessible to the general public. I do believe that during finals, though, entrants are required to show proper BU Identification to gain access.

        • Current Student on 12.06.2012 at 1:36 pm

          The library entrance is now inside the GSU – they did construction this summer. Last semester at least, I never had to show an ID to get inside during finals.

        • Current BU Student on 12.06.2012 at 1:37 pm

          The Mugar entrance was moved to inside the GSU this fall. And you do not need to show ID at any point to get into Mugar.

          • Overlord of the Underclassmen on 12.08.2012 at 2:29 am

            During finals you do have to show ID.

        • nope on 12.06.2012 at 1:45 pm

          They moved the entrance over the summer. It’s now in the GSU.

          • I am on 12.06.2012 at 8:14 pm

            a troll.

    • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 11:49 am

      BU library serves like any other city libraries. It is opened to everyone who needs it.
      In this case, someone abuses his privileges inside the library, but that does not imply BU should shut the door to other people who visit library and take good use to it.

    • current grad student on 12.12.2012 at 2:18 pm

      i think the point here is not the location of the front door regardless of outside or inside.

      i second the original post that library should have had any access control with student ID or exchanging ID for public guests.

    • PPD on 01.15.2013 at 1:02 pm

      I don’t think the issue is the man’s right to be in the library. The issue is what he did. He was wrong and now must face consequences for his actions. We all know that a student would never ever do anything like this. Give me a break.

    • Aenne on 05.04.2016 at 11:43 am

      ID’s have to be shown between certain hours to get into Mugar during finals, but not all the time, as a rule. One problem that I’ve noticed concerns student guards at the front desk. Some are attentive, many are not, looking at their cell phones, not saying anything when students walk in with plates of food (strangely okay to do during finals but not allowed at other times) or not reacting when individuals set off an alarm when leaving the library. Yes, guards are present at Mugar, but they seem to mostly respond to problems after the fact, or if enough people complain, doing little by way of watchfulness to prevent them.

  • mike on 12.06.2012 at 8:46 am

    I saw this happen… All the students in the area were like what just happened… And the guy looked so weird and out of place to begin with.. he was just sitting at a corner table and was looking around awkwardly… Glad he got picked up tho

    • Overlord of the Underclassmen on 12.08.2012 at 2:29 am

      Yeah, I saw him too. The police were going through his stuff as I was walking out with my friend.

  • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 9:14 am

    yea, why exactly are non-students able to enter the library at all? set up a system.

  • J on 12.06.2012 at 9:35 am

    This is very creepy and the guy obviously should be not be allowed back on campus, but can someone please explain this law about taking pictures without permission being illegal? Can I get thrown in jail for taking pictures of people on Comm. Ave? What if you took a picture of the guy who was taking the pictures…. you both should go to jail right?!

    • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 10:31 am

      I can only speculate that it has to do with Mugar being private property, whereas an area like Comm Ave is a public way with no expectation of privacy.

    • bu student on 12.06.2012 at 11:01 am

      it’s probably also because he was taking pictures of “inappropriate areas” of their bodies, which is probably considered something like sexual assualt

    • KD on 12.06.2012 at 11:02 am

      Clearly you are misreading this. He’s not just taking photos of women, he’s taking crotch shots and pictures on inappropriate areas of their bodies — which is very, very different than just snapping a photograph of someone on the street or taking a picture of the guy taking the pictures. If you were taking a picture of a guy’s junk along with the junk of several young men then yeah sure, you could go to jail for that too.

    • AC on 12.06.2012 at 11:02 am

      As a film student, and not a legal expert, I believe the keyword is “secret” or maybe “surveillance.” If you have your DSLR or point and shoot camera and are snapping photos on Comm Ave, its apparent to the people around you that you are capturing images. The creeping aspect is the illegal part, which is good to know.
      Again, not a legal expert, but this is from experience/inference.

    • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 11:49 am

      The short answer is this law forbids only secret or hidden recording of a person who is partially nude, and only if the recorded person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy under the circumstances to be free from such recording.

      Many states have such “voyeurism statutes” that forbid this kind of secret recording of private areas of the body. These laws are narrowly construed and do not reach public recording, such as your example of photographing on Commonwealth Avenue.

      The longer answer is that this individual was likely arrested for violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272 § 105(b), which forbids:

      “[W]illfully photograph[ing], videotap[ing] or electronically surveil[ling] another person who is nude or partially nude, with the intent to secretly conduct or hide such activity, when the other person in such place and circumstance would have a reasonable expectation of privacy in not being so photographed, videotaped or electronically surveilled, and without that person’s knowledge and consent . . . .”

      Used here, “partially nude” means “exposure of the human genitals, buttocks, pubic area or female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola.”

  • Suzanne on 12.06.2012 at 9:41 am

    When I once asked the head of BU security why Mugar is not open to just faculty and students, like other urban schools, he said it has to be open to the public so that BU can receive public funding. Money ahead of safety?!!! Relying on students to text the police.???? Under cover police in a library??? This is backwards and puts students at an unnecessary risk and stress. Shame on BU!

    • Aktay on 12.06.2012 at 11:21 am

      I would like to congratulate you for your question. It was an appropriate question however answer was not satisfactory.

    • Luisa on 12.06.2012 at 11:39 am

      Why did you choose to go to school that is in an urban setting if you’re so concerned with your safety? The higher the population = the higher the crime rates. It’s simple science, and it’s not money ahead of safety, it’s an institution that is open to providing some educational resources to the public which I don’t see as a fault. Students should report safety issues to the police, whether they are on or off campus. Is that not how real life works?

      • TT on 12.06.2012 at 4:41 pm

        ^ Spot on. As a student, I don’t think depriving the Boston public of a great library is a sensible idea. Newsflash: creepers exist. If it’s a police state you want, don’t go to an open campus school in the heart of a major city.

  • Anon on 12.06.2012 at 10:19 am

    @Lauren: Well, for one thing, it is so people seeking access to the resources of the library have the opportunity to use them. For example, professors of other area universities often come in to do research. So maybe implementing an ID card only system wouldn’t be the right thing to do.

    • AP on 12.06.2012 at 10:29 am

      Alumni have library privileges, as well as most students and faculty at other area colleges.

      BU students need to stop making the fallacious argument that all of their fellow BU students are “safe” people, too. BU has some 50,000+ students and staff. That’s more people than the entire population of Burlington, VT, for example- which has a decent amount of crime.

      The fact of the matter is, BU’s campus is public, and students need to treat it like a public place.

  • Kit on 12.06.2012 at 10:24 am

    Students, staff and faculty are supposed to show their ID after a certain time. I think it’s like 8pm. It’s an urban campus and the situation was handled appropriately. This is the first incident I’ve heard of in years. You can’t lock your kids up in a bubble.

    • Current BU student on 12.09.2012 at 2:24 am

      I never had to show ID, even after 8pm.

  • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 10:36 am

    Other urban universities have security policies implemented that allow only faculty and students entrance into their libraries. Why does BU instead opt for undercover security and students to be on the look out for creeps and Burglers? Because BU now gets public money since Mugar library is now a library open to the public! Is that the priority BU?

    • Anonymous on 12.08.2012 at 8:14 am

      BU didn’t opt for undercover security. Did you not read the article? BU had undercover BUPD in the Library due to recent laptop thefts. As for the students to be on the lookout? THAT IS AT EVERY COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY! It’s not just the University that needs to be on the lookout for this stuff, its up to the Faculty, Students, Police, etc. I work in the Public Safety field and on numerous occassions, students constantly walk up to myself and if they notice something strange, they tell me. Its greatly appreciated because I only have 2 eyes myself.

  • Bain on 12.06.2012 at 10:57 am

    I have honestly never seen the people sitting at the front desk near the mugar entrance do anything. Ever since they stopped checking bookbags (thank god), they just sit there. There definitely have been homeless people in mugar. Just wondering around, checking out the library catalog, because they can’t access the computers.

    • An American Who Appreciates Freedom of Expression on 12.06.2012 at 1:01 pm

      Homeless people have the right to learn. This is America.

      • Kyle on 12.11.2012 at 11:18 am

        Unless they are just there to loiter.

  • BU male on 12.06.2012 at 11:31 am

    I think it’s absolutely absurd that part of the response was to go around and tell men to put away their phones. How can BU take an isolated incident and then target an entire group of students? I think that exposes some flaws in institutional policy and thinking. We should absolutely protect our students whenever and wherever they are on campus, but when protection of one group infringes on and targets the rights of another, that is a problem.

    • BU female on 12.09.2012 at 4:04 am

      I agree.

  • Luisa on 12.06.2012 at 11:34 am

    I agree with AP and Kit. We chose to attend an “Urban University” and some BU facilities are open to the public and it should be that way. There are creepers everywhere, doesn’t matter if they’re homeless or if they’re students…who’s to say that the kid pushing girls down and taking upskirt pics isn’t a student? People need to be more aware of their surroundings and hyper-vigilant and can’t expect the university or security care to take care of them.

    @Bain, is it the job of librarians and other staff to assume the role of security and kick out homeless people? Don’t people have better things to do? Or is it your job to be more cautious and take responsibility of your personal belongings?

    Be smart, grow up and stop whining. We live in the city. If you can’t take care of yourself and realize there’s a weird guy sitting near you in the library taking pictures, you probably shouldn’t leave your apartment.

    • Briana on 12.06.2012 at 12:29 pm

      Thank You.

    • An American Who Appreciates Freedom of Expression on 12.06.2012 at 12:58 pm


  • Will on 12.06.2012 at 11:55 am

    I see a lot of comments about concerns about how the man we even there in the first place, and that only individuals with IDs should be allowed in, that this is a security problem, and that we are all desperately unsafe until this is fixed.

    Safety is crucially important, but it is best served by EXACTLY the way it was done here; by people being aware of their surroundings and taking the next appropriate step when then notice something sketchy or out of place.

    These days it seems like we’re supposed to feel scared all of the time, although by any objective measure people are at least as safe as they’ve ever been.

    There’s a belief in the culture right now that doesn’t quite follow: If we have more security/rules/warrantless wire-tapping surveillance, etc, THEN we will become “safe” in some pure absolute sense. Bad things can always happen, so when does this “safe” kick in?

    More security doesn’t replace awareness, community, and common sense. More rules and security protect us from some dangers, but can replace them with others.

    Safety is clearly the priority, but we won’t get simply by asking for more laws/rules/security. Safety is stuck by a balance between individual/community/and institutional responsibility. We need to think about the trade-offs when people are asking for more restrictions to feel safe, because rules can never fulfill that need on their own.

  • G on 12.06.2012 at 11:56 am

    1. The issue.
    Secret recording is the actual problem. Seeing someone openly photographing gives the ability to respond. Property has regulations. Secretly doing it is illegal.

    2. Libraries and Student Union cafeterias are public spaces on most campuses. It accommodates families, friends, guests, visitors, etc. All of the parents who are complaining on the side that these areas should be locked off for ID only are the same people who would be shouting about the inconvenience if they couldn’t get into these areas when their child wasn’t with them.

    3. This is also the building that people go to in order to get their IDs and accounts set up. So please tell me how to operate a system of giving IDs and access to people if you need IDs to get into that building?

    4. Locking out the general population does nothing to lower risk. It in fact increases it. I’d rather have under cover officers and vigilant fellow students than everyone assuming that all people inside the building are automatically safe. The foot traffic inside the GSU is too high to have a functional key system. All it would take is waiting for a train to arrive and you could slip in with a crowd of people where one of them opened the door for you. Then no matter how sketchy you seemed people would assume you’re allowed to be there and wouldn’t contact anyone.

    Everything about this was done perfectly. No one was in physical danger. This was offensive and lewd behavior at best.

    Find something legitimate to be upset with.

    • Gloria on 12.06.2012 at 6:05 pm

      “Find something legitimate to be upset with?” You’re obviously a lucky person who has never been humiliated by sexual harassment. Think this through:
      A student thinks they’re safe in the library. This student is female so she thinks about harassment and rape when she goes out, especially at night, but not in the library. She’s studying. Then she realizes a creepy man is watching her and taking pictures of her. Luckily he was caught. Had he not, she would later feel disgusted that this man is masturbating to photos of her. Photos that exist only because she is female and went to the library. Not that the women in question aren’t disgusted that this man was *planning* to do that.

      Please have some compassion. Try and understand what it might feel like to constantly feel (whether a little or a lot) like prey.

      • Anonymous on 12.07.2012 at 1:29 pm

        But the guy was caught. The system in place seems to be working as intended. I agree with G on every point.

      • Kyle on 12.11.2012 at 12:03 pm

        While I understand your concern, this matter really isn’t constricted to Mugar. If this was another student, and lets say he lived on campus. This could have happened in Mugar, the GSU, a dorm, on the streets, or really anywhere. The fact of the matter is that there are weird people everywhere, regardless of where you are on campus, this could have occured with the same result. Unless each person wants a personal detail to keep watch of them, then this could have happened. Should we just block off all of Commonwealth to everyone but BU students and lose government funding? This is going to happen unfortunately, and not because of security or lack there of, but because there are weird people out there. PLAIN AND SIMPLE

    • BU female on 12.09.2012 at 4:09 am

      I disagree with #3. GSU, or rather the basement of GSU has always been open to the public. But since the entrance of Mugar has been moved to inside of GSU, and there are still guards at that entrance, the guards could be filtering people as they walk into the library (and not GSU), instead of just sitting there doing nothing.

  • BU Student on 12.06.2012 at 12:52 pm

    Although this incident is very unnerving, I do not find it grounds to limit Mugar to BU students and faculty only. It can be a useful resource for people living in the area–most of whom do not go to the library to take photos of women. I understand parents’ concerns, but most buildings in Boston are public; this fact is unavoidable. If you don’t want your children to be in contact with sketchy people, you might as well keep them at home because the world is full of them!

  • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 2:26 pm

    In regards to the last paragraph of the article, making only men put away their phones is absolute absurdity! The fact that this is an enacted precautionary measure by BU officials is completely ridiculous. Not only is this incredibly sexist but it is simply an enormous insight to how the administration and police feel they should handle issues on campus. This would be like if the police stopped every African American man between the ages if 15-24 on the street in regards to the recent robberies in the months past.

  • Urban Grad Student on 12.06.2012 at 3:42 pm

    The problem with Mugar is security. BU should just do what other urban schools do and check IDs. I went to do research at UPenn, and even though I wasn’t a Penn student I could still get in to the libraries. I had to show a photo ID (student or driver’s license, didn’t matter), sign in a guest log and then get my picture taken for my day pass. The front desk then prints a little sticker with the photo they took of you and the time/date. As long as you have that you can get in and out of the library until closing time by flashing it at the front desk. Then you wear that sticker on your shirt/jacket while inside so if a security guard asks you for ID you can prove you signed in. Penn students just had to swipe their ID card, like at the FitRec. This appears to be a good compromise between accessibility and security. You are not barring anyone from the facilities, but you are making sure that people are using the library properly while also deterring those who would want to do something inappropriate. I don’t think it would be so difficult to would be to install a similar system. Plus, if you have to swipe to get into other places on campus (dorms, FitRec, CFA), then how would having to swipe for access to Mugar be so different?

    • S on 12.06.2012 at 11:51 pm

      That system doesn’t stop anyone from coming in, though. If they really wanted to, they could get a day pass.

      I think having an ID system would be ridiculous regardless because a library should be open to anyone who has the need for it.

      We shouldn’t be blaming BU for this. We should only be blaming that man for what happened.

  • Lisa Philpotts on 12.06.2012 at 4:19 pm

    I’m a librarian at Mugar and a young woman who is often mistaken for a student (makes sense, given that I’m only in my 20s). I’ve worked in another library at a large university as well as a public library in an affluent suburban area. Without a doubt, I feel the safest at Mugar. I was genuinely surprised when I started working here at how motivated and respectful our users are: that includes our students, staff, faculty, and yes, the members of public who visit our library as well. We are VERY lucky to have a great community and the presence of security staff.

    That is not to say that our users shouldn’t be cognizant while in the library- don’t leave your items unattended (pet peeve of mine) and do not hesitate to let security or a staff member know if you feel uneasy about anything. I just don’t want people to get the impression that Mugar is a dangerous place to be.. or at least any more dangerous than all the other places we frequent at BU or in Boston.

    This particular incident hits home for me- when I was 21 and working at a public library, some creep took photos of my backside when I was shelving books (in the children’s section, of all places). I didn’t know this was going on, but a coworker noticed and told me to go to a staff only area. The guy was not kicked out- we didn’t have on site security, he left on his on accord at some point, and I was afraid to make a fuss. When it sank it that I was essentially hiding in a room because some man came into my workplace and harassed me, I was fuming with anger. In retrospect, that is not how the situation should have been handled. This incident, on the other hand, was handled very well. I am so pleased that the BU student in this story notified public safety and that they responded swiftly. Kudos!

    Disclaimer: I am in no way speaking as a representative of other staff at Mugar- just sharing my opinion as an individual.

  • Gloria on 12.06.2012 at 5:53 pm

    Dear Lisa, I am so sorry that happened to you. I understand that feeling of a loss of power – being a bit in shock, not knowing how to respond until it’s too late.

    I don’t quite understand why public safety had all the male students put their phones away. Perhaps they were trying to weed out the guy? I don’t know. It does seem a little absurd but that’s hardly going to become policy, and I think it’s important to remember who the real victims were here – the women who were being photographed without their knowledge. This has happened to me and many other women – jeez, there’s a whole reddit subforum devoted to creep shots. They may have handled it in a clueless way but let’s not get upset. It’s a way bigger deal women just trying to go to study had to have that happen….wonder if they can prove any of the women were under 18? Then that guy would be really screwed.

  • eddy smith on 12.06.2012 at 6:12 pm

    every building bu has should be a card swipe..where is our saftey

  • Marybeth Prusher on 12.06.2012 at 10:15 pm

    I am the parent of two college students, one at BU and one at another school in Florida. I visited DOZENS of schools in the college selection process. Most schools we visited did NOT allow non-students into the library. The above commenter “G” is incorrect, at least based on the schools we’ve visited in Chicago, Florida, PA, and NY. On guided tours of these campuses we were waved in at the security desks but if we went independently we were most often not allowed past the security desk. As a parent, I was perfectly ok with that. The library should not be there as a public library, it is specifically funded for the benefit of BU students and staff. The public library is downtown, its beautiful and great to visit but I wouldn’t want my daughter studying there at night. My son’s school in FL is restricted to students and staff and he is at a public University.
    A problem has been identified: neighborhood creeps are frequenting the student library. It behoves BU to take action now, change the system, BEFORE something terrible happens and a creep follows a young woman home from the library after inconspicuously watching her all evening. I told you so is a terrible thing to hear.

    • BU student on 12.07.2012 at 12:21 am

      Your concerns are more than valid. However, public libraries are not accessible after 5 or 7 pm. Creeps are everywhere. We live in a very weird world. As a parent, if you’re concerned, it’s your responsibility to educate your children to be vigiliant and aware of their surroundings…to be street smart. You took a tour of campus…it’s in an urban setting and on comm ave. The public transit runs directly through it. If your children are attending school in the city and don’t believe in community and public access then they should probably be attending another private university that’s completely sheltered, like Dartmouth. But there’s creepers there too, maybe not so much in the form of urbanites but there’s danger everywhere and its unavoidable. Your children can’t live in bubble and you can’t protect them from real life exposure to real threats, but as a parent you can talk to them about things and raise their awareness.

  • Fergus on 12.06.2012 at 10:17 pm

    Why do so many suggest “cut off public access”? You have (apparently adequate) security -it worked..they caught the creep, great! Let the public keep using the library.

  • Anonymous on 12.06.2012 at 11:31 pm

    Harvard doesn’t allow anyone into their libraries without a Harvard ID. BU should probably do the same.

    Also, I’d be in favor of a total ban on cell phone usage anywhere in the GSU period. I don’t like the fact that anyone could be surreptitiously taking photos/videos of me or others with their cell phone while I’m eating lunch and talking to others. The Fitrec bans cells phones for this reason.

    • Anonymous on 12.07.2012 at 1:23 pm

      That is ridiculous to ban cell phone usage anywhere in the GSU. People need to communicate and it’s the 21st century. I understand the concern of creepers or anyone taking pictures of people for leisure but this is college and the GSU is filled with hundreds of college students. As for the library situation, I agree that guests should have to sign-in for a pass. It still keeps the library public without restricting access.
      But think about if cellphones were banned in GSU: first of all, nobody would follow it because at least 60% of everybody in the GSU actually use their cellphone to communicate. Second of all, Boston University making the GSU, a public and highly social area cellphone free is like saying any cafeteria in the world should be cellphone free because that’s what it is. Again, I understand your concern and it is not to be taken lightly, but be reasonable.

  • An on 12.09.2012 at 5:33 pm

    I think BU should tighten up the security. Just like some have already mention, Harvard doesn’t let just anyone walk through their libraries so why should BU? I think BU has one of the most accessible (hence most vulnerable) university libraries around Boston. I’m a graduate student who has class in the crosstown building near albany and mass ave (right next to a meth clinic) and have to show my BU ID every time. Literally, I waved it to the security guard as I walked by and it takes like two seconds, not that much of a hassle. For some who doesn’t have a BU or forgot, maybe they can just present some form of ID and sign in as they entered.

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