Upskirting Case Moves to the District Attorney’s Investigators

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The owner of the phone took a selfie and he appears in several videos.

A search warrant has been obtained and investigators from the District Attorney’s Office are searching a phone found on the river bar in Southern Humboldt for evidence of criminal activity and attempting to identify victims. The phone became the focus of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office after Michelle Vandenack, a local woman who found it, discovered videos which were shot furtively under the skirts of local women and girls in locations from Southern Humboldt to Eureka. (See earlier story here.)

One of the methods the man who took the videos used was to approach a woman wearing a dress in a grocery store. He would then begin browsing a nearby shelf, turn on the video camera in his phone, and place the phone in the red hand-basket strategically on the floor beneath the woman. In one video, at least, he followed the woman and repeated the action several times.

Two of the victims have been identified by Vandenack as underage. According to Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, if the victims are underage, then the person who took the images could face felony charges. While taking photos and film in a public place is legal, using an electronic device such as a phone camera to “upskirt” or film in areas that the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy such as under a dress is illegal according to California law.

Several women and at least one of the underage victims who believe they have been victims have contacted law enforcement already. Now the videos on the phone must be matched to them. Once that is done, the man who videoed the victims must be tracked down.

Vandenack, the woman who initially identified the upskirting videos said that the whole experience left her feeling unsafe but she is glad that the phone is now in the hands of investigators with the District Attorney’s Office. “[I’m] glad something is being done to find this guy,” she said. “I want the women in our community to feel safe. And hopefully he gets caught and gets the punishment he deserves.”

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22 comments

  • Does anybody know if this guy is even still alive? I don’t mean to perpetuate the stereotype of southern Humboldt, but his belongings are found on the riverside… Is he just another body in the forest? It’s weird that me saying that isn’t a stretch at all.

    • Well, if someone killed him, I am not crying

    • His Twitter accounts were locked down the day the original post went out.
      Someone with access didn’t want the hostile reaction his Facebook page was getting. My guess is he lost his password to the Facebook page when he lost his phone. There hasn’t been a new post on it since September 5.

  • The woman who found & turned in this phone is a real HERO. Michelle, all the women in this community are grateful to you, even those who have no idea. PLEASE HCSO go after this guy with every resource available. He needs to be locked up,not caught &released

  • Find this guy and throw the book at him. I’m pretty sure I saw this guy in Shop Smart. He was walking towards me in an aisle with his phone pointed towards me. He was with two other guys and they were all laughing. I’m sure his replacement phone is full of this crap also.

  • throwin two cents....

    Wow am surprised to hear this reaction from the community, considering everything else going on in our communities, this is what we want prosecuted????
    A guy can stalk 40 women and people question it? Where’s the DA when that jerk is breaking one if his many restraining orders.
    sorry but this is so jr high, should boys be arrested for doing this in school?
    Would this guy been arrested if he took pics of thonged bikini butts at redway beach? Its pictures, how does that make anyone feel scared? Did this guy have pics of drugged out women, or pics of sexual assaults?
    I’d rather see the violent offenders get the focus of our limited police forces and DA attention. The police wont even investigate home breakins unless theres physical injury so i have a hard time wanting local resources focused on dirty pics.

    There are a few men aged 27-28 who are dating local 15-16 year old girls and no one seems to care about that illegal activity so I dont get why this is worse.
    If your neighbors 16yr old is dating a 27 year old please call the police even if one of the parents thinks its fine. Especially if you know the guys full name. Its statutory rape, its really illegal.

    • Well said Throwin Two Cents! Really, Humboldt County Sex Scandal…what a waste of time and $$$

    • Everyone has different opinions of what is the most important things law enforcement should focus on. I certainly support law enforcement’s efforts in dealing with stalkers and home breakins. We aren’t however talking about “dirty pictures.” We are talking about someone who gets an unhealthy thrill from filming parts of bodies normally not seen by others without the consent of those filmed. While we don’t know whether those videos are posted on online Upskirting sites, many women and girls are abused this way. The images of areas they think are private are sold to voyeurs. In any case, videoing an area of the body that the person believes to be covered and would be covered in the course of normal viewing is a form of sexual harassment. Most of us are not okay with sexually harassing women and even more we’re not okay with doing that to underage girls.

      • Thank you very much kym for speaking out.you said what should have been said.And unless any of you have been thru such a thing,PLEASE don’t talk like this isn’t serious,because if it were my daughter being photographed like that,he’d have to watch out for this MOM!

      • It would take more than this obvious punk loser and his two friends to stop justice if he did this to any woman I knew,

  • Everyone has yheir opinions on this matter. However I am a woman who lives and works in this community. My life will firever be impacted by agreeing to one date with “David”. Im grateful to everyone letting this become available to the public.

  • I clicked on the California law link and eventually came to this: Penal Code 647 (j) (2)

    (2) Any person who uses a concealed camcorder, motion picture
    camera, or photographic camera of any type, to secretly videotape,
    film, photograph, or record by electronic means, another,
    identifiable person under or through the clothing being worn by that
    other person, for the purpose of viewing the body of, or the
    undergarments worn by, that other person, without the consent or
    knowledge of that other person, with the intent to arouse, appeal to,
    or gratify the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person and
    invade the privacy of that other person, under circumstances in which
    the other person has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

    This is a form of disorderly conduct, as that’s what PC 647 is about. If you read this part of the law the crime is more complicated than simply taking a photograph. It has a series of what we call “elements” that have to be shown. The most difficult to prove is that the purpose is sexual and the violation of privacy is intentional. So a photo with a concealed camera that was photobombed, in effect, by someone walking by at such a moment that an upskirt photo resulted would not make the photographer a criminal. But perhaps more to the point here, if these were practical jokes, a requirement of fraternity membership, censuses of panty types or patterns in use, etc. they would be bad, but they would not be this crime because of the lack of sexual intent. I’m also wondering about the requirement of an “identifiable person.” It is unlikely that such a photo would allow identification of the victim. Most likely a victim would have to come forward and show that it was in fact a photo of him or her. The article notes several potential victims have come forward but their identity has to be matched to the photos.

    Perhaps there is another law on the topic, or perhaps victims have recourse to civil suits for invasion of privacy — but only if they come forward and prove they are the subjects of the photos. Lets see what happens if the photographer is identified, and located. Surely they can identify him through the phone number, not to mention all of the other data about him that will be on the phone. Last issue: what happens to the photos when the case is over? Are they deleted? Was the phone backed up by the user, i.e. are there other copies of the photo?. How will we know? What happens to the copies law enforcement and the DA have? Were the photos published on-line? Can they be removed from on-line sites? There’s lots to find out and the odds are that we will not actually learn the answers to some, or most, of these questions.

    • Most of the videos I saw show the woman’s face. They are identifiable. One underage victim that I have identified myself has contacted law enforcement with her mother.

  • Well then, that’s half the battle. It’s still going to be hard to get him on the sexual aspect unless the videos make it obvious, or remarks do. Possibly there is something else on the phone, especially if he was trading any of these videos. Seven hundred videos is a lot, and presumably means he was doing this for a long time, which makes swaps more likely.

    With the underage victims there is a crime which is something like “annoying a minor” which is a lesser form of statutory rape used when the acts are short of intercourse, and possibly they could get him for that.

    I guess we’ll wait and see. It must have been much harder to do these things before everyone’s phone became a video camera. I had an early home video camera in 1980 and it was huge, and obvious when it was recording. Now everyone has a camera in their hand, or at hand, and no one thinks anything about it.

    • In the videos I saw, it would be hard to convince a jury that they weren’t sexual in nature. Following women around in order to upskirt or downblouse repeatedly is unlikely to be interpreted as a normal photographer’s behavior.

  • And that should be a crime too,having proof and it being dismissed like nothing ever happen,being swept under the rug,however you want to put it,it’s wrong and pretty disgusting!!maybe Humboldt should have its own brand of justice

  • Any updates on this story Kym???

  • Pingback: Upskirting Update: David Nunez to Be Arraigned – Redheaded Blackbelt

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