CANADA: Sex Offender Convicted After Using “Gender-Neutral” Changing Room to Watch Women Undress

A man with a history of sexually predatory behavior has been sentenced for voyeurism after it was discovered he had been using the “gender-neutral” changing room of a local recreation center to watch women undress.

Mark Istephan, 52, has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after he attempted to watch a woman shower at a community pool on Vancouver Island. Istephan was previously convicted for the attempted kidnapping of a 13-year-old girl.

During court proceedings, Western Communities provincial court Judge Ted Gouge heard that the incident occurred on the morning of May 4, 2023, at the Sooke and Electoral Area Parks and Recreation Commission (SEAPARC). The SEAPARC is a designated “LGBTQI+ Safe Space,” and highlights that it prioritizes inclusivity and “does not tolerate violence, bullying, or hate speech towards the LGBTQI+ community”

The victim, identified only as Z.R. in court documents, had been swimming at the community centre and returned to the gender-neutral change room before showering in a private cubicle. As she was getting dressed, she saw the shadow of a man in the next cubicle who appeared to be trying to watch her through the gap between the bottom of the cubicle divider and the floor.

Z.R. ran to the reception desk and informed staff, who promptly called police and Istephan was arrested. In his decision, Judge Gouge noted that Z.R. was left traumatized by the experience, and continues to suffer anxiety as a result, specifically when using public recreation facilities.

During the hearing, Istephan refused to participate in a psychological assessment, something the judge called “unique.” Istephan claimed he did not have any mental health concerns, and declined a pre-sentence interview with a forensic psychologist.

The court heard that in 2001, Istephan attempted to force a 13-year-old girl at a bus stop into his car. He was ultimately convicted of attempted kidnapping and received a conditional sentence of 18 months, which he served in the community.

In 2007, Istephan was convicted of public indecency when he was arrested for masturbating on a lakeside wharf in Victoria, resulting in a 60-day jail sentence and three years of probation.

According to a Port Moody Police release from 2018, Istephan briefly went missing after being discharged from Eagle Ridge Hospital. At the time, he was described as being a male of Middle Eastern descent who was approximately 6 feet tall.

Since his initial conviction for attempted kidnapping in 2001, Istephen has been further convicted of breach of probation for failing to complete a sex offender counseling program in 2009, and another breach of probation in 2014 for being within 200 meters of a school.

The incident in Sooke further accentuates the concerns surrounding the safety of “gender-neutral” restrooms that have emerged over the past year.

As previously reported by Reduxx, the city of Cambridge, Ontario, recently sparked outrage after announcing that plans for a new recreation center would completely eliminate traditional male-female changing rooms. Instead, a glass-walled “universal gender-neutral common area” would be established where males and females would share a common space and cubicles.

During a meeting on April 29, the Mayor of Cambridge had a woman removed from a city council meeting for expressing her worries about the safety of the proposal.

In the United Kingdom, just under 90% of complaints regarding changing room sexual assaults, voyeurism and harassment that occurred between 2017 and 2018 were found to have taken place in gender-neutral or unisex facilities.

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Reduxx is your stop for pro-woman, pro-child safeguarding news and opinion that goes outside the mainstream narratives.

Reduxx Team
Reduxx Team
Reduxx is your stop for pro-woman, pro-child safeguarding news and opinion that goes outside the mainstream narratives.