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Head of Cal Poly's Military Science Dept. charged with placing hidden camera in a dressing room

The head of Cal Poly Military Science Department is facing charges for allegedly placing a hidden camera in a dressing room at the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets.
Posted at 6:26 PM, Feb 16, 2023

UPDATE: Sweatland's court hearing was postponed until March 13.

UPDATE (9:13 a.m. Friday): The Army says Jacob Sweatland has been removed from his department chair position at Cal Poly along with being barred from campus. He's also been "placed in a teleworking status until the conclusion of both the Army Criminal Investigative Division and local law enforcement investigation." The full statement from the Army is below.

ORIGINAL STORY: The head of Cal Poly's Military Science Department is facing charges, accused of placing a hidden camera in a dressing room at the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets.

The investigation involving Jacob Sweatland began last year. Pismo Beach Police said officers responded to reports of a hidden camera device inside a store at the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets on Sept. 2, 2022.

Two days later, officers were called out again after police said a man identified as Sweatland went to the store looking for a device he said he had left behind.

Police described the camera-like device as similar in size to a key fob.

They say once the now 40-year-old suspect arrived at the store, he ran from officers but was arrested a short time later.

“I think it's a horrible thing to happen and definitely everybody should check before they go in,” said shopper Tom Kosinski.

“I’m like appalled that, you know, the dressing room now isn't safe," said shopper Toni Stradi. "You know, it's like you go in to try clothes and now somebody might be watching you and looking at you, and it's so, it's kind of scary. It's very creepy.”

Cal Poly spokesperson Matt Lazier confirmed Sweatland is the head of the university’s Military Science Department.

“Sweatland has not been on campus teaching classes or interacting with students at Cal Poly pending his criminal proceedings,” Lazier said in a statement to KSBY. “Additionally, we must clarify that the Military Science Department head position is appointed to Cal Poly by the Army.” He added, "We have worked closely with Pismo Beach Police on their investigation into Sweatland and have determined that no criminal activity connected with this case is alleged to have happened on the university’s campus."

Court documents show Sweatland is facing misdemeanor charges of invasion of privacy and obstructing a peace officer.

KSBY News reached out to the Pismo Beach Premium Outlets but has not received a response.

KSBY also reached out to Sweatland’s attorney, Ilan Funke-Bilu, who issued a statement, saying, "I appreciate your giving me an opportunity to say a few words on behalf of Lt. Col. Sweatland. My client is an American hero who has devoted his life to serving our country. He has undertaken 4 deployments including in Iraq, Afghanistan, Columbia and Syria. My client has suffered physically and mentally as a direct result of his service to his country which, unfortunately led directly to his facing misdemeanor charges in our county. It is an honor for me to represent this American. I am confident that, upon considering all of the facts, Lt. Col. Sweatland's result will be just and compassionate. He deserves no less."

The U.S. Army Cadet Command, the unit Sweatland belongs to, issued the following statement: "U.S. Army Cadet Command is aware of the arrest of Lt. Col. Jacob Sweatland, former Professor of Military Science at California Polytech State University- San Luis Obispo, CA. on charges of invasion of privacy and resisting arrest. The command does not condone this behavior and takes all allegations of misconduct seriously as they contradict the Army Values and what we stand for. Currently Cadet Command is considering appropriate administrative action against Sweatland and issued him a no contact order with our cadets. Additionally, he has been removed from his position as department chair, barred from campus and placed in a teleworking status until the conclusion of both the Army Criminal Investigative Division and local law enforcement investigation."

Sweatland is set to appear in court Friday morning for a military diversion eligibility hearing.