Man who filmed dozens of cops in restroom gets 6 years in jail

A man who admitted to spying on 69 of his coworkers in a Long Beach Police Department bathroom was sentenced to six years in jail Friday.

Sergio Nieto, 29, who worked as a records clerk at the LBPD’s Downtown headquarters, used his phone to film officers and other police employees as they changed or relieved themselves, according to prosecutors.

In October, Nieto pleaded no contest to 69 counts of misdemeanor invasion of privacy, leading to Friday’s jail sentence.

After he serves that time, Nieto will be on probation for five years. If Nieto violates his probation or commits any crime, especially if it’s a sexual one, he could spend another 28 and a half years behind bars, according to the judge who sentenced Nieto.

“Any slip-up and that’s probably what you’re going to get, and it won’t bother me in the least to give it to you,” Judge Christopher J. Frisco said.

Nieto will not be required to register as a sex offender unless he violates his probation.

The judge called Nieto’s crimes “especially concerning” after one of Nieto’s victims tearfully told the judge about the trauma of finding out he’d been secretly filmed by a co-worker he knew and trusted.

“Sergio, you have no idea what someone has gone through in the past,” said the victim, whom the Long Beach Post is not identifying.

The victim thanked the prosecutor and police detective who handled the case and then apologized to them for having to wade through all the graphic videos Nieto filmed.

“I can not imagine the hours you gave watching the evidence brought before you,” he said.

Nieto stood quietly and listened during the hearing but said little beyond agreeing to probation conditions the judge placed on him, which included staying away from all Long Beach police stations and attending sexual compulsion counseling.

“This case was disturbing on many levels, but it is the complete betrayal of trust that many people cannot fathom,” Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert said in a statement. “This is the most serious case of invasion of privacy I have seen in my 20 years as a prosecutor.”

Nieto was originally facing 115 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy against 69 different victims at the Long Beach police station, but prosecutors dropped dozens of those counts after he agreed to plead no contest.

He may have spied elsewhere as well.

In a search warrant filed at the Long Beach courthouse, police said Nieto admitted he’d also filmed people in the bathroom of a 24 Hour Fitness at The Promenade at Downey shopping center.

Nieto may have been spying in bathrooms for months, from as early as 2017, until a police employee noticed a cell phone pointed at him under a bathroom partition and identified Nieto by his shoes, according to the warrant.

At the end of Friday’s hearing, a bailiff cuffed Nieto and led him away.

“You’re remanded. Good luck,” Judge Frisco said.

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Jeremiah Dobruck is the breaking news editor for the Long Beach Post. He began his journalism career in 2007 as an intern at Palos Verdes Peninsula News and has worked for The Forum Newsgroup in New York City, the Daily Pilot and the Press-Telegram. He lives in Torrance with his wife, Lindsey, and their two young children.