Middle Tennessee woman frustrated by slow judicial process after revealing photos taken of her

A Middle Tennessee woman says not enough is being done to protect women in our state after revealing photos were taken of her without her knowledge.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 8:00 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2023 at 6:29 AM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WSMV) - A Middle Tennessee woman said not enough is being done to protect women in the state after revealing photos were taken of her without her knowledge.

She said other women should never go through something like this.

Kate McClinton said she found out about the photos during her sister’s divorce. It turned out her brother-in-law had thousands of inappropriate photos of her on his laptop. When she turned to police, she said help didn’t come quick enough.

They are family memories McClinton will never be able to see the same way again. That’s because her brother-in-law, Will Cotten, took other photos she never knew about.

“I honestly think he had cameras in his shoes,” McClinton said. “Some of the shots he was able to get I don’t even know how.”

Phones, laptops, secret cameras. McClinton said they were all used to take hundreds of inappropriate photos and videos when she least expected it.

“The way the cabinetry was set up, he could somehow, facing the refrigerator, use his cameras from the cell phone to point up my dress,” she said. “And he’s got a clear shot of my private area, even up my back.”

When McClinton and her sister found the images on Cotten’s laptop, she said she brought it to Brentwood Police.

“We were turned away after the initial meeting after about an hour,” McClinton said. “Just about there’s nothing we can do. You can get an order of protection and can maybe take this up in civil court.”

McClinton said that happened four more times. Then she wrote a letter to former Brentwood Police Chief Jeff Hughes. That’s when they found over 300 photos on the laptop, enough to press charges, so she thought.

“Unfortunately, on the district attorney side, we’ve run into lots of issues as well,” she said.

McClinton said Williamson County wouldn’t move forward with any charges, but Florida would. That’s where some of the photos were taken. Ten days after she alerted Bay County officials, Cotten was charged with video voyeurism. In 10 months, he was sentenced to five years of probation – a much different process than Williamson County.

“Here I’ve been brushed aside, pushed away, acted like what happened to me didn’t matter to them, acted like my family doesn’t matter,” McClinton said. “Never once was I told, ‘I am so sorry you are going through this.’ I just feel like I’ve been pushed away, pushed away.”

After a year, Williamson County agreed to move forward with two counts of unlawful photography. It’s been a long process she doesn’t want anyone else to go through.

“Victims of crime should not have to fight for justice. That’s what the criminal justice system is there for,” McClinton said.

Two hearings were scheduled for Cotten in Williamson County, but they were postponed at his request. The next one is scheduled for Jan. 25. WSMV plans to follow her case.