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Victims in video voyeurism case call for tougher punishment of such crimes

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Kevin Thomas Roy worked on the production crews of some of Hollywood’s biggest movies, including the “Lone Ranger,” “Transcendence” and “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”

But it was the filming he was doing in secret that landed him in trouble with law enforcement, according to court documents.

Roy’s computer hard drives contained more than 40 videos and 400 photographs capturing unsuspecting women showering or changing in private areas, on film sets and at shopping centers, according to a search warrant affidavit.

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Roy, a Los Angeles County district attorney’s investigator wrote, appeared to be a “prolific collector and producer of voyeuristic matter” with a “voracious appetite and affinity for videos ... depicting women in bathrooms, dressing rooms and other places of privacy.”

More than five months after investigators obtained Roy’s hard drives, some of the women named as victims in the warrant say they are outraged that Roy has avoided jail and complain the district attorney’s office has not done enough to pursue charges against him in Los Angeles and other places videos were made.

As part of a deal with Los Angeles prosecutors, the district attorney’s office said, Roy pleaded no contest June 26 to a single misdemeanor charge of unauthorized invasion of privacy. He was sentenced to three years of probation and required to undergo 52 weeks of sex offender counseling in Georgia, where he now lives.

“It’s an awful feeling knowing that you’re a victim of such a sneaky, disgusting crime, and it is as though the law isn’t protecting us or any other women out there,” said Donna Unsinn, who was identified in the search warrant as being shown in some of the images.

A district attorney’s spokesman declined to respond to the criticism, saying the office’s investigation into Roy is ongoing. Roy, 38, and his attorney did not return calls seeking comment.

Roy’s case underscores how easy digital technology has made it for voyeurs to secretly record others in their most private moments.

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In May, a prominent Washington D.C. rabbi was sentenced to more than six years in prison after pleading guilty to secretly recording 52 women as they prepared for a religious bathing ritual.

In California, a U.S. Border Patrol supervisor recently admitted in federal court that he secretly recorded seven female workers in a bathroom at the agency’s Chula Vista office. And in Florida, a 79-year-old man recently pleaded guilty to video voyeurism after a teenage German foreign-exchange student he hosted discovered a spy camera hidden in a clock in the man’s bathroom.

Several states have moved to combat voyeur offenses by increasing criminal penalties for people caught recording others who are undressing or naked. New York, Florida and Texas are among the states that have made such a crime a felony carrying the threat of significant time behind bars. Offenders in New York, for example, face up to four years in prison for a first offense and four to seven years for a repeat offense.

In California, secret video recording remains a misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail; a repeat offense can be punished with up to one year behind bars.

Roy has worked on numerous television and movie sets, according to the online movie database IMDB, often as a production assistant or an assistant director who helps ensure actors and crew members are where they are supposed to be on the set.

The criminal case against Roy, first reported by the online site Jezebel, began after his ex-wife contacted authorities this year.

Michelle Schrauwers told district attorney’s investigators that she found the first video while searching her husband’s computer for evidence that he was having an affair with a model, the search warrant said. Schrauwers said the video showed her sister in a bathroom undressing to take a shower.

Schrauwers believed the recording was made when she and Roy threw an engagement party in Louisiana in April 2013, the warrant said. Her sister, she said, shared a hotel room with the couple.

Schrauwers told investigators she confronted her husband, and he expressed disgust with himself for creating the video, apologized and promised never to do it again, the warrant said.

A year later, Schrauwers told investigators, she found more images on her husband’s computer that showed her sister changing into a bathing suit. She recognized the bathroom from a condo she and her husband rented in Hawaii during a vacation in 2012, the warrant said.

Making voyeuristic videos is a felony in Hawaii and Louisiana, the warrant said.

After Roy asked for a divorce, Schrauwers said she gathered five external hard drives that belonged to him and provided some of the images she found to investigators, according to the warrant. Among them were photographs of Unsinn, Schrauwers’ best friend, undressing to take a shower and drying herself afterward, D.A. Senior Investigator Thanh Flumerfelt wrote in the warrant.

Flumerfelt viewed the materials and saw Roy in at least three videos setting up or concealing a recording device in bathrooms and a film set changing room, the warrant said. The investigator wrote that he viewed a video of Schrauwer’s sister, Jennifer. He also viewed other videos that recorded up the skirts of women in Target stores and in shopping centers, the warrant said. The videos were taken between 2010 and 2014, he wrote.

“Roy has displayed a penchant for using compact, concealable video recorders, such as the GoPro brand of action video recorders, and mobile phones,” the investigator wrote in the warrant, adding that he believed Roy would continue to produce voyeuristic videos and photographs.

On May 5, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office filed two misdemeanor charges against Roy. Office spokesman Ricardo Santiago said the charges involved two women who were secretly recorded while changing during the filming of a commercial at College of the Canyons in Santa Clarita. As part of Roy’s deal with prosecutors, one of the charges was dismissed, Santiago said.

Schrauwers’ sister, Jennifer, told The Times she broke down in tears after an investigator showed her a recording of herself. The Times generally does not identify possible victims of sex crimes, but Jennifer Schrauwers and Unsinn agreed to be identified and quoted.

Jennifer Schrauwers questioned why the district attorney’s office did not immediately alert authorities in Hawaii so they could determine whether to prosecute Roy there for a felony.

“Having to identify myself on the video was one of the most disturbing things I have had to do, and what was the point?” she said, her voice shaking. “It is really scary. Who knows how many victims there are out there?”

Flumerfelt, she said, told her she could file a report with police in Kauai. She said she contacted Hawaiian police July 6. She said the investigator contacted her last week and is working with Hawaii to get the proper documentation sent over.

Flumerfelt did not return calls seeking comment

Santiago said an L.A. County D.A. investigator referred a victim to Hawaiian police and that his office began helping local authorities there after receiving an email from Hawaii police July 10. He declined to say whether his office has contacted authorities in Louisiana or elsewhere.

He said other videos obtained by his office are part of the ongoing investigation but that some of the recovered evidence involved offenses too old to legally prosecute. After the Times questioned his claim, the district attorney’s office released a statement acknowledging that charges could still be brought if there was evidence of a crime committed in California one year from the date the evidence was discovered.

Unsinn said that she visited her friend Michelle and Roy several times at their homes in North Hollywood and West Hills and believes that is where she would have been recorded. She said she is upset that the district attorney’s office did not file charges against Roy based on the video identified in the search warrant.

A spokesman for the Los Angeles city attorney’s office, which handles misdemeanors in the city, said the DA’s office had not referred evidence about Roy for possible prosecution.

Unsinn said she is waiting for the district attorney’s office to take another look at the video recordings the office obtained.

“It’s an awful feeling knowing that my privacy has been violated,” she said.

richard.winton@latimes.com

Twitter: @lacrimes

Times Staff Writer Stephen Ceasar contributed to this report.


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