Earlier this week, we wrote of a store manager accused of taking cell phone pictures under a dressing room door as a woman changed clothes inside. Now, another man is accused of using his cell phone to take video underneath the skirt of a 13-year-old girl at a southwest Oklahoma City restaurant.
Reports say the girl and her family were at the Taste of China restaurant near S.W. 89th and S. Western, where she was standing in line at the buffet. The girl's mother allegedly noticed a man standing very close to her daughter, and says she saw the man slip position his cell phone beneath the girl's skirt. The mother went to get the girl's father, who confronted the man. The girl's father confiscated the man's cell phone and turned it over to police when they arrived.
The man initially denied any wrongdoing, but police say he eventually confessed to using his cell phone to take video underneath the girl's skirt. He was arrested on a peeping tom complaint and taken to the Oklahoma County Jail.
"Peeping tom" is a broad complaint that can cover a range of activities, and depending on certain factors of the case, it may be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony.
In general, a peeping tom is someone who "hides, waits or otherwise loiters in the vicinity of any private dwelling house, apartment building, any other place of residence, or in the vicinity of any locker room, dressing room, restroom or any other place where a person has a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy, with the unlawful and willful intent to watch, gaze, or look upon any person in a clandestine manner." In this case, the act is a misdemeanor.
However, these days almost everyone has a smartphone, or at least a cell phone equipped with a camera. This means that the stereotypical peeping tom is no longer hiding in the bushes outside a bedroom window, but rather using his or her cell phone camera to catch clandestine pictures or recordings. The use of electronic, photographic, or video equipment can elevate the charge to a felony.
If the "peeping tom" uses such equipment in a place where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy--a dressing room, a locker room, a bathroom, or a restroom, for example--the act is a felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison. If the equipment is used to take images or videos of the private area of a person in a public place without the knowledge or consent of that person, the act is a misdemeanor.
If the act involves a minor, a person may face additional charges, including lewd or indecent acts or proposals to a minor or possession of child pornography. These are felony sex crimes that require Oklahoma sex offender registration.