In today’s edition of things that will make you afraid to pee in public, a doctoral student at the University of Delaware has been accused of secretly recording dozens of women as they used bathrooms on campus.
State officials told the Associated Press that 38-year-old Javier Mendiola-Soto been arrested for illegally filming women in five locations over a two year period. According to the Delaware News Journal, there may have been “hundreds” of women whose privacy was violated in the 1,500 videos Mendiola-Soto downloaded. He allegedly used two miniature cameras hidden in sanitary napkin dispensers, moved between several campus buildings. On June 27, a woman spotted a hidden camera and called the police.
Mendiolo-Soto has been expelled from the University and is being held at Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington on a $42,000 secured bond. The most likely outcome, officials told the News Journal, is deportation for Mendiola-Soto. Police are not attempting to identify women in the videos, but are inviting people to come forward if they believe they have been a victim of the illegal, creepy, and invasive videos.
“We’re hoping that, in fact, if they’re needed to testify, they will,” the University’s director of campus safety, Skip Homiak, told the News Journal. “We do understand that they’ve been traumatized. Everything that we are doing at the university is with the utmost sensitivity to the victims. And that’s our main concern at the moment.”
In response to the incident, University officials have searched every restroom and locker room for potential privacy violations.
Police say that they don’t believe the videos had been electronically shared, which is a small mercy in this whole nasty business. Because make no mistake: being filmed in a private space without permission is serious. It is sexual harassment, and it is awful.
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