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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  JA Mentor -Attorney Labor/employment, corporate, sports law, admiralty/maritime and civil rights law
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Multiple women living in New York discovered one man videotaped

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Multiple women living in New York discovered one man videotaped them using a hidden camera in the privacy of their bedrooms. They brought the case to the attention of the Manhattan D.A. who has responded they are unconvinced a crime was committed. Under NY Penal Code 250.45, as well as all the women saying they did not consent, and with the submission of several witness names who will attest to being shown these private videos (to the utter humiliation of the women) this response from Sex Crimes is extremely disheartening. What advice do you have? They understand that discretion to prosecute is given solely to the DA with no recourse if they choose not to prosecute. However, following Governor Pataki's signing of Stephanie's Law in 2003, one would assume if the law stands, then the law should stand?
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking.

Stephanie's Law" prohibits "unlawful surveillance," which is defined as (1) the installation of "an imagining device" with no legitimate purpose other than surreptiously viewing or recording another person in a bedroom, bathroom, changing room, or other specified room; (2) for the purposes of sexual arousal or gratification, the use or installation of an imagining device that surreptiously views a person dressing or undressing when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy; (3) the use or installation of an imagining device to surreptiously view under the clothing of a person (commonly known as "upskirting"); or (4) for amusement, entertainment or profit, or to abuse or degrade the victim, the use or installation of an imaging device to surreptiously record another person dressing or undressing when that person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. The law is still valid and it appears as though what you are complaining of fits under this statute.

If the DA will not prosecute this case, it does not preclude you and the other women from filing suit against this individual for violation of your privacy rights by violating Stephanie's Law and the violation of that law would be considered a prima facie presumption of his liability to each of you for damages.



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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

The abuser has absolutely no funds of his own. His parents are millionaires with multiple homes, etc. and pay for him to belong to elite private clubs. He enjoys a very privileged life. However, he has no savings and has a job where he earns barely enough to cover his one bedroom in Manhattan. Knowing this, what would you advise via a civil suit? What could we file for? I know the usual "he could win the lottery tomorrow" but realistically speaking, what logical next move would you advise? It's a terrible position to be in. For what purpose would the DA not aggressively prosecute? Or, at the very least, press charges?

Thank you for your response.

I am sorry to hear he has made himself judgment proof. The problem is that if he has no assets you can attach and if you get a judgment, since all of his assets are in his parent's name and likely from there into a trust, he could file bankruptcy to extinguish your judgment or just leave all of his assets under his parent's name or in the trust and you could never get at them and realistically this means that civil suit could be fruitless sadly.

I wish I knew why a DA refuses charges, it is frustrating when there are cases where the evidence is clear beyond a reasonable doubt, but I cannot speculate as to why the Manhattan DA has not chosen to pursue this. One thing a DA does respond to is public pressure, so media coverage to embarrass the DA's office can work to force them to accept the charges and prosecute.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

How does one apply media pressure without incurring legal liability?

Thank you for your follow up.

There is no violation for you or them reporting the truth. The perpetrator could not claim defamation or slander if you tell nothing but the truth and seek to publish the truth about him.
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