A Long Beach police clerk filmed dozens of his coworkers while they changed clothes or used the bathroom at the Downtown police station, authorities said in court documents filed this week.
Over the span of about three months, Sergio Nieto, 28, built up a stash of at least 115 secretly recorded videos, authorities allege.
“It is a complete violation of trust and integrity,” said Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert, whose office filed the case Jan. 29. “No one would want to be the victim of this type of crime.”
Nieto faces 115 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy on 69 different victims. Each charge could carry a six-month jail term if he’s convicted, Haubert said.
Nieto would be in the bathroom with his victims when he discretely filmed them, according to a law enforcement source who was familiar with the investigation but wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. The charging document describes him using a mobile phone.
The victims include some high-ranking officers and other co-workers, some of whom he filmed repeatedly, according to the criminal complaint.
Part of Nieto’s clerical job at the Long Beach Police Department was to review accidentally recorded body camera footage, which is known to happen in the bathroom and other places, the law enforcement source said. The footage must be reviewed to make sure it was accidental and has no value as evidence before it’s deleted.
Nieto was responsible for reviewing that type of footage only for male LBPD officers, the source said. A female employee reviews accidental body camera footage from female officers, according to the source.
Police announced Nieto’s arrest in July, but the scope of the crimes he’s accused of wasn’t clear until now.
It took months to file the charges because investigators had to go through the scores of videos and match up the images to each victim, according to the source.
Even though prosecutors ended up with 115 misdemeanor counts, there are even more videos with victims who either haven’t been or don’t want to be identified, the source said.
Detectives arrested Nieto on June 29 after someone noticed him doing something suspicious in the second-floor bathroom, police said. He’d been filming there since at least March 21, according to court documents.
He’s currently free on $25,000 bail. Nieto did not return a message left at a phone number listed for him Thursday.
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