Youth expelled from school on new claims of video-recording

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A 17-year-old Chimacum boy accused of voyeurism involving cell phone videos taken in the employee restroom of Ferino’s Pizzeria could face more charges related to video-recording fellow Chimacum High School students without their knowledge.

The youth has pleaded not guilty to four counts of voyeurism based on the alleged incidents at Ferino’s. Additional charges could come as soon as this week, according to Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney Michael Haas.

At a Dec. 7 hearing before Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper, Deputy Prosecutor Cheryl Potebnya asked that the youth be found in violation of the conditions of his release because he had been expelled from Chimacum High School. One of the conditions of his release was that he stay in school.

Potebnya asked that bail be set at $5,000 in light of new allegations and potential new charges against the teen. She said she was concerned for the safety of the community. Potebnya offered into evidence a letter from Chimacum High School Principal Whitney Meissner.

In that Dec. 2 letter to the youth’s parents, Meissner said she was expelling the youth from school because in May and June 2016, he had “unlawfully

video-recorded female students in classrooms and in the hallway” of Chimacum High School. Meissner also alleged that in June, the youth video-recorded a female student at a private home.

“These videos will result in him being charges [sic] with felony misconduct,” Meissner wrote.

Charging decisions are up to the county prosecutor. Haas said Dec. 9 that prosecutors have met with a Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office detective and plan to meet this week with several potential new voyeurism victims.

“It’s almost a certainty that there will be” more charges, Haas said. “We know we have more victims.”

At the Dec. 7 hearing, Judge Harper agreed with Potebnya that it was an oversight that conditions of the youth’s release not include restrictions on cell phone and computer use.

Judge Harper said if prosecutors want to bring new charges, they can do so, but Harper said that at this point he could not impose bail or new restrictions based on the letter from Meissner, since those accusations have not be proven yet and the youth is innocent of all charges at this point.

The youth is to be tried before a judge, not by a jury.

Attorney Scott Charlton, who is representing the youth, noted that the youth’s parents had already banned him from using a cell phone and the computer for anything other than his homework.

Charlton disagreed with Potebnya on the youth violating his probation. Charlton said that after he was expelled from Chimacum High School, his parents immediately enrolled him in a private school outside of Jefferson County.

Charlton also told Judge Harper that there has been a “stream of parents” who have been advocating with Meissner for the youth’s expulsion.

He also said that some people’s behavior toward the youth were “bordering on harassment.”

Another hearing has been set for Dec. 14.

Voyeurism is a Class C felony. A person convicted could be required to spend time in jail and potentially have to register as a sex offender.

PROBABLE CAUSE

A probable-cause statement written by Brett Anglin, JCSO detective, said that he responded to the Port Hadlock pizzeria in September after the owner reported Facebook postings and calls that someone had hidden a camera in an employee restroom.

“The video depicted the women’s bare buttocks, however, the videos did not depict any other intimate areas. There were four videos in all,” Anglin wrote in his probable-cause statement.

Anglin indicated that one of the employees said she believed the videos were taken between July 8, 2016 and Aug. 29, 2016, based on how she wore her hair in the videos.

Anglin said the videos appeared to be posted on a website, 4Chan. The anonymous person who posted the videos (on 4chan.org) indicated that the videos had been taken of people with whom the posting person had gone to school.

The person posting also said all of the people were 18 years or older.

Anglin obtained a search warrant for the website, which provided him with an IP address for the alleged poster of the four videos. A search led Anglin to CenturyLink. Anglin then obtained a search warrant for CenturyLink in an attempt to identify the IP address, and that led to the discovery of the address of the youth’s parents in Chimacum, according to court records.

Anglin indicated that he and another detective went to the youth’s home, read him his rights and interviewed him. The youth consented to a search of his room and computer, which was taken into evidence.

The detective noted that the youth was cooperative.

PROTECTION ORDERS

Judge Harper earlier also signed three sexual-assault protection orders preventing the youth from going within 1,000 feet of those three employees of Ferino’s, except to pass on the public right-of-way. All three employees are 18 years or older.

Harper said Dec. 7 that he was aware another protection order was in the works.

Harper had imposed a number of conditions for the youth’s release into the custody of his parents in September.

In addition to having no contact with the three employees of Ferino’s Pizzeria, the youth also must stay in school, maintain contact with his attorney, not possess a weapon and, as admonished by Harper, “stay out of trouble.”

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