H-PISMO BEACH

Aug 21, 2013 9:14 PM by Cameron Polom, KSBY News

Charges explained in invasion of privacy case

"It is absolutely the most destructive, vile thing that can happen to a person," said Attorney James McKiernan.

According to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney, it happened to a lot of people right here on the Central Coast -- they were recorded while using public restrooms.

The man responsible, former California State Parks employee Jesse Nungaray, pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor invasion of privacy charges.

Court documents also say he was suspected of doing the same in a Pismo Beach hotel room.

He spent less than 60 days in jail.

"Videotaping of a private act is probably one of the most destructive things that can happen to an adult or a juvenile," said McKiernan.

So, why weren't the charges more severe?

A felony eavesdropping charge against Nungaray was dismissed.

Attorney James McKiernan says, in this case, it came down not to what was on the recording, but what wasn't.

"What seems to have happened here is they had a non-audible, non-sound situation that fell under the lesser penalizing statute," said McKiernan.

According to San Luis Obispo County Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran, the recordings taken by Nungaray captured video but no sound. Under California law, video recording without audio carries a lesser charge than if it were only audio and no video.

McKiernan says, from the DA's perspective, it's all what they can prove.

"If they can't prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, that person could go free," said McKiernan. "So then the DA reverts to a position where they're likely to get a conviction."

However, McKiernan says it's clear that the law is outdated and in need of some changes.

"Every day we hear about tragedies in different states as well as our own about people who have been victimized and they've taken drastic action against themselves through suicide," said McKiernan. "You know it's time to change these things."

As far as victims go, Deputy DA Gran told KSBY that victims could not be notified or identified because the recordings did not show faces.

As part of Nungaray's plea, he will be on probation for five years.

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