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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Skirting the issue

I'm not sure I agree with you a hundred percent on your police work there, Lou Garry: A sleazeball who runs a video store in Ashley us accused of taking upskirt photos of three female customers, including a 10-year-old girl, and all they're charging him with is a misdemeanor battery charge for brushing against the girl.

"We had had three different occasions where allegations were made," said Ashley Police Department Deputy Chief Garry Osborn.

The department has begun an investigation into all three incidents. Officers confiscated Miller's cell phone and computer hardrive. Police won't comment on what they found, because it is still an active investigation. All of the evidence was turned over to the Dekalb County prosecutor.

But according to Osborn, unless there is nudity or it can be proven the pictures were sold, the prosecutor can't press charges. "There's no statute that covers that type of behavior."

[. . .]

Newschannel 15 contacted the Dekalb Co. Prosecutors office. Staff told us, they have looked over Indiana law codes repeatedly, including IN code 35-45-4-5 which defines voyeurism. They say the "Voyeurism" statute doesn't apply in this case, because it allegedly happened inside a store, not a shower or bathroom. And the "Invasion of Privacy" statute doesn't fit either, because there was no restraining order at work in Miller's alleged case.

Even Tom Wyss, who pushed for the state's most recent voyeruism law, says it might be time to talk about reworking the code. But I think a case can be made that current state law covers what this guy did. Angry White Boy makes that case here, citing Indiana statute on criminal deviate conduct and listing several examples of cases from other states where such activity is treated a little more severely thant the DeKalkb County prosectuor seems to want to.

And whether state law is applicable or not, there is a federal law that almost certainly would apply, the Video Voyeurism Act of 2004, which:

amends the federal criminal code to provide that whoever knowingly videotapes, photographs, films, records by any means, or broadcasts an image of a private area of an individual, without that individual's consent, under circumstances in which that individual has a reasonable expectation of privacy, shall be fined or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.

"Photographs an image of a private area of an individual"? Check. "Under circumstances" with "a reasonable expectation of privacy" ? Check. Miller should be thrown in jail to await trial and told to pack his bags just in case.