L.A. model speaks at sentencing of man who took upskirt video
With her attorney Gloria Allred at her side, model Brittanie Weaver told a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge Thursday that in secretly taking video up her dress at a pet store, Julio Mario Medal made her feel violated, humiliated and “like a piece of meat.”
“This has been a time-consuming and stressful battle to protect my dignity,” she said in a victim impact statement. “I was so upset by what he did to me that I missed out on career opportunities, suffered a lack of trust in those around me and withdrew from two semesters at my university.”
Allred, who spoke at a news conference after the hearing, called for legislative action to better protect women from what she called a “disturbing trend” of men using iPads or smart phones to take inappropriate photos or video footage of women without their consent.
Medal, who pleaded no contest to two counts of secretly videotaping a person for sexual gratification and loitering for the purpose of committing a crime in August, was sentenced to five years of probation, as well as community service. He must also attend classes to treat what a court document called his “sexual compulsion” for the entire five-year period.
During that time, the 38-year-old Los Angeles resident, who quickly left the courtroom with his attorney after he was sentenced, will also be barred from having any device with photo or video recording capabilities -- including a camera phone.
Though Weaver referred to Medal as a Los Angeles County probation officer, a department official said he was fired in 2008 after an unrelated disorderly conduct charge.
At the news conference, Allred described the March 15 incident.
Medal, she said, had been following Weaver, 24, as she browsed a Sherman Oaks pet shop.
When he knelt down to pet Weaver’s Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Winston, Weaver looked down and noticed that the camera of an iPad he was carrying was aimed up her dress, Allred said.
Allred commended Weaver for coming forward, but said that cases like Medal’s should be prosecuted as felonies. She added that those found guilty should be forced to register as sex offenders.
Because Medal used an iPad, she said, his offenses were prosecuted as misdemeanors.
“Obviously, the law has not kept up with advances in the tech world and the law needs to be changed,” she said.
Technology, though, played a dual role in the case.
Weaver said that, using information she saw on a name tag Medal was wearing, she was able to track him down on LinkedIn. She then sent police a print-out of the profile.
“The Internet makes the world so small,” Weaver said.
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