Victim of Peachtree City peeping Tom had ‘gut feeling’ about neighbor

Victim of Peachtree City peeping Tom had ‘gut feeling’ about neighbor

Man, 50, sentenced to 20 years in prison for multiple counts of peeping Tom and sexual exploitation of children

Peeping Toms may go behind bars if caught, but they leave behind victims.

One of the victims, Payden Montgomery, said she knew there was an issue in her neighborhood in 2013. During and since that time, Montgomery said police were called for issues such as seeing a light in the back yard through the bedroom window.

The peeping Tom was Matthew Flesher, Montgomery’s next door neighbor. A Fayette County Superior Court case has resulted in Matthew James Flesher, 50, of Peachtree City, being sentenced to 20 years in prison for multiple counts of peeping Tom and sexual exploitation of children, according to District Attorney Ben Coker on Sept. 28.

Montgomery said that, over time, there were other sightings reported. It was on Dec. 30, 2016, that Montgomery and her husband heard a noise outside. Her husband went to their bedroom and looked out the window. That was when he saw a shadowy figure wearing black clothes and a ski mask. Her husband exited the house with the idea of chasing the man, but he was gone, Montgomery explained.

Police were called and officers arrived, with K-9s. They began checking the area, as had been done of previous occasions when suspicious activity had been reported, Montgomery said.

Montgomery said the K-9s kept going to Flesher’s fence where, on his property, officers found pieces of firewood stacked next to the fence.

Montgomery told officers she had a gut feeling about Flesher because, on previous occasions, she had seen him looking over the fence and watching her.

Once Flesher was arrested and his camera equipment secured, Montgomery said there were still photos and video taken of her or her family on multiple occasions since 2011. She said the footage showed that Flesher had sometimes watched at her bedroom window and through the back door. Montgomery noted that her young children were not born when the peeping Tom incidents began in 2011.

“This has been years of taking something I didn’t know I was losing,” she said. “You feel violated with a burglary or when your car is entered, but with this we didn’t even know.”

Montgomery on Monday complimented Peachtree City police for their efforts to bring an end to Flesher’s activities.

And as for her outlook today, it was crystal clear, and one that looks to the future rather than living in the past.

“The case is behind us. We can breathe a sigh of relief and begin putting this behind us,” Montgomery said.

Flesher was arrested for taking photos and videos of unsuspecting women and girls in the Peachtree City area, said Coker.

Peachtree City Police Department spokesperson Odilia Bergh at the time said officers arrested Flesher on numerous charges related to unauthorized surveillance of women inside their homes.

“(Flesher) was initially arrested on Dec. 31 when patrol officers responded to a report from one of his neighbors stating they observed a subject in their backyard looking into their windows,” said Bergh. “Officers were able to locate and identify Mr. Flesher as the suspect in that incident.”

Flesher on Dec. 31 was arrested on charges of unlawful eavesdropping or surveillance, criminal trespass, prowling and peeping Tom, Bergh said.

“Officers seized a video camera from Mr. Flesher’s person at the time of arrest. The Criminal Investigations Division followed up by executing search warrants on the camera, as well as Mr. Flesher’s residence, where some digital storage media was seized for evaluation,” said Bergh. “As a result of examining the video camera, an additional 23 warrants were issued for peeping Tom. All 23 additional warrants are for incidents that occurred prior to Dec. 31 and include 23 separate incidents targeting four different victims.”