Upskirting Case Moves to the District Attorney’s Investigators
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.”