DA: Prosecuting suspects in video voyeurism cases 'tricky'

Peter diBenedetto (Source: EBRSO)
Peter diBenedetto (Source: EBRSO)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Baton Rouge firefighter arrested for allegedly taking inappropriate pictures of women jogging around the lakes at LSU could serve prison time, but getting him there might not be as easy as some might think.

A most any time of day you'll find people walking, jogging, and enjoying the scenery around the city lakes.

Emmi Korjus and Lena Simon said it is part of their routine.

"We walk it maybe two or three times a week," Emmi Korjus said.

The more than six-mile course provides a relaxing backdrop. Walkers, Bree Evans and Chantel Rose said it is the best place to exercise.

"We're getting older so it's getting to the point where we've got to exercise, and it's a safe place to do it," Evans said.

Recent attacks along the lakes have put some females on guard. But now they are concerned about becoming a victim of a sex crime.

Baton Rouge Firefighter of 15 years, Peter diBenedetto, was arrested after detectives said he took pictures and recorded video of women at the lakes. Investigators reported they found him sitting inside of a van with a half gallon of vodka and a cell phone where they reportedly found 43 videos of women. Police said the photos focused on particular body parts.

"It's just disgusting really," Rose said.

While some cases of video voyeurism are cut and dry, Assistant District Attorney for the 19th Judicial District Prem Burns said prosecuting them can be tricky.

"It's subjective. It's something that's in the mind of the person taking the pictures," Burns explained.

The law states video voyeurism is, "The use of any camera, videotape, or any other image recording device for the purpose of observing or viewing a person that has not consented and it is for a lewd or lascivious purpose." It is also, "The transfer of that image by live or recorded telephone message, electronic mail or the internet."

Burns said in most cases it takes more than just photos to prove the suspect is guilty.

"If it hones in on certain body parts, breasts, genitals, buttocks, legs. If you were to see the person masturbating there could be additional evidence introduced as well, or the totality of those circumstances," Burns said.

Walker, Lean Simon, said although the thought of someone using pictures of them for that purpose is a disturbing, she has no plans of changing course.

"I also think this can happen on campus. So, it doesn't really matter if I'm on the lake or on campus," Simon said.

If convicted of video voyeurism, diBenedetto could face up to $2,000 in fines and two years in prison, or both.

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