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Plant guard, security firm ordered to pay $1.4 million

A St. Croix County judge ordered a former security guard and his employer to pay $1.4 million to women whose employee badge photos the man altered and posted on pornographic Web sites.

In a lengthy decision filed June 6, Judge Eric Lundell ordered Troy C. Schmidt, 666 W. 4th St., New Richmond, and Securitas Security Services USA to pay $333,333 each to three women, $75,000 apiece to another two and $50,000 apiece to five other women.

The women were working at the Polaris Industries plant in Osceola when Schmidt, now 35, reportedly downloaded digital photos of them and other workers onto a thumb drive.

According to a narrative in the decision, Schmidt printed the photos, performed a sexual act on them and uploaded adulterated images to his Web site.

The decision says some of the pictures were accompanied by lewd commentary and/or the victim's name.

Schmidt created adult Web sites with suggestive names and posted photos of about 38 women on the sites. Thirty-one were Polaris or Securitas employees. One Web site alone had nearly 300 photos.

Schmidt, who grew up in New Richmond and attended St. Croix Central High School, worked for Securitas from Sept. 30, 1997 until Nov. 2, 2005 when he was fired.

He also worked infrequently as a reserve officer for the River Falls Police Department from December 2001 to December 2005 and on a limited basis as a guard for UW-River Falls Campus Security from May 2003 to mid-December 2005.

Prior to hiring Schmidt, Securitas did a background check on him. The state of Wisconsin also did its own background check before issuing him a private security officer license, and the RFPD performed a background check.

None of the checks uncovered anything in Schmidt's background "regarding any criminal or deviant behavior," wrote Judge Lundell.

Schmidt first worked as a Securitas security officer and was later promoted to account manager in charge of all other security officers at the Polaris facilities in Osceola and St. Croix Falls.

At some point, according to the court decision, Schmidt began posting pictures of the women and other Polaris employees online.

In October 2005 a member of the community discovered the online postings and told Polaris, which notified Securitas. Schmidt was fired Nov. 2, 2005.

According to Lundell's decision, "Schmidt was told (by Securitas) that the incident should be kept quiet, that he should not discuss it with anyone, and that if he removed the pictures from his Web site, criminal charges would not be pursued."