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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 15th, 2013, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 14, Issue 32 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 14, Issue 32

Assisted-living community janitor faces charges of peeping and elder abuse

BY AMY ASMAN

The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office recently filed charges against Buellton resident Juan Carlos Diaz for allegedly recording women using the restroom at an assisted living residence in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Diaz faces 15 misdemeanor counts, including one count of inflicting unjustifiable mental suffering on an elder; one count of electronic peeping for the purpose of gratifying one’s sexual desires; and 13 counts of electronic peeping in a place in which the other person can expect privacy.

The DA’s Office said the suspected offenses occurred between Aug. 2, 2011, and Oct. 1 of this year. The older charges are being allowed under an exception to the statute of limitations for late discovery of hidden recordings.

In an e-mail to the Sun, Deputy District Attorney Brooke Gerard said Diaz pleaded not guilty to the charges in court on Oct. 11. The next court date for the case is Oct. 22.

According to a press release from the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department, deputies arrested Diaz while he was working at the assisted living residence on Oct. 1. An administrator at the facility contacted the Sheriff’s Department after a female employee found a cell phone concealed in the ventilation system in a restroom.

On the phone, which was determined to be Diaz’s, deputies found numerous videos of staff members and residents in various stages of undress while using the restroom facilities. Deputies also conducted a search of Diaz’s residence, where they reported recovering evidence possibly related to additional crimes.

“So far, most of the victims appear to be staff members,” the press release said. “The evidence obtained in the case has been turned over to the Sheriff’s High-Tech Crime Unit to help determine the exact times and dates the videos were taken and to identify the victims.”