Bathroom Camera Outrages RV Park Visitor
Kimble Kubiak was admiring the wood finish around the skylights inside the men’s restroom at the Santa Fe Skies RV Park on Jan. 3 when he saw something that caught his ire.
“I was appalled,” said Kubiak. “Just unreal.”
The Kilgore, Texas, resident and his family had been staying at the park, located south of Santa Fee, N.M., for the past four days and were getting ready to leave town when Kubiak noticed a camera mounted inside the skylight, according to the Albuquerque Journal.
“I felt violated,” Kubiak said. “I first thought about what me, my family and others who have stayed here before could have been exposed to.”
Kubiak called the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department. Deputies arrived, but no charges of voyeurism – criminalized in a state law enacted last July – were filed against Santa Fe Skies, nor were any arrests made.
According to a sheriff’s report, the park owner, John Brown, told deputies that the reason the camera was placed inside the restroom was to catch vandals.
The report also states that Brown first checked with a Santa Fe police officer before installing a camera.
“According to (Brown), he was informed (by the officer) that it would be all right to place the camera in the restroom to catch the vandals,” the report reads.
Sheriff Greg Solano said he does not believe the camera’s placement violates the voyeurism statute.
“The basis of any crime is intent,” said Solano. “In this case, there didn’t seem to be any intentional criminal act.”
The skylight in question is positioned between the sinks and the stalls inside the men’s restroom. Showers are also located inside the room. Solano said the placement of the camera did not show the inside of the showers or the stalls.
Brown was unavailable for comment, but a family member who works at the park said, in addition to vandalism, items were being stolen from restrooms there.
Tim Brown also said that the camera was a single-shot camera equipped with a motion detector. He said the camera was positioned in a way that was only meant to capture the faces of people walking by the sinks and not intended for any other purpose.
Kubiak said, “It’s a no-brainer to not put cameras in a bathroom.”
He is upset that no charges were filed against the park under the state’s voyeurism statute. That law states that such an act “consists of intentionally using the unaided eye to view or intentionally using an instrumentality to view, photograph, videotape, film, webcast or record the intimate areas of another person without the knowledge and consent of that person.”
Solano said he will forward the case to the district attorney’s office, which will determine if any charges should be filed. But Solano added such a case would be tough to make.
“We’d be hard pressed to win a criminal case in this matter,” Solano said.