A man charged with 26 misdemeanor counts of unlawful electronic peeping allegedly used a hidden camera to spy on his unsuspecting victims and capture them in various stages of undress.
Justin Obinna Asinobi, 22, will appear in court today to continue his arraignment, which began on Wednesday, when Judge Raimundo Montes de Oca set his bail at $200,000 and ordered him to not have any contact with his alleged victims, stay out of Isla Vista and be subject to GPS monitoring.
“A case involving electronic peeping was initially reported in 2022,” Supervising Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Karapetian told the News-Press. “The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office conducted an almost yearlong investigation into the allegations.
“As a result of that investigation, the District Attorney’s Office charged Mr. Asinobi with allegedly placing hidden cameras in places where persons had a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
The complaint filed against him alleges that Mr. Asinobi “willfully and unlawfully used a concealed camcorder, motion picture camera or photographic camera to secretly videotape, film, photograph or record by electronic means another identifiable person, or through the clothing worn by that other person, for the purpose of viewing the body or undergarments worn by that other person, without that person’s knowledge or consent.”
Mr. Asinobi was charged with unlawful electronic peeping between Oct. 1, 2021 and Feb. 15, 2022.
A search warrant signed on Feb. 23, 2022 permitted the search of devices belonging to Mr. Asinobi in which the alleged recordings were located, the complaint said.
“After viewing the secret recordings, law enforcement officers were able to identify 12 of the people depicted in the recordings, and although an additional 14 were visible, they have not been identified yet,” Prosecutor Karapetian said. “Anyone who has information about the case can contact Detective Sosa with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department 9 (at) 805-681-4100.”
In a move to protect the confidentiality of those alleged victims who were identified, counts 1 through 12 in the complaint lists them only by their initials. In counts 13 through 26 pertaining to alleged victims who remain unidentified, all but four are listed as Jane Doe. The final four are listed as John Doe.
What remains unclear about the case is Mr. Asinobi’s alleged motive.
When the complaint alleges that he used a hidden camera to secretly record his victims to view their bodies or their undergarments, without their knowledge or consent, it explicitly states his intent was “to arouse, appeal to or gratify the lust, passion or sexual desires of that person.”
In that context, “that person” makes it sound as if he wanted to arouse his alleged victims and to gratify their lust, passion or sexual desires as opposed to his own.
In most cases, one would suspect the whole point of going to the trouble of hiding a camera in the first place to secretly record people would be to satisfy the perpetrator’s sexual desires or lust, not the victim’s, but that’s not what the complaint says.
Prosecutor Karapetian declined to clear up the confusion.
“I cannot comment on that unfortunately. I’m sorry,” she said.