MENUMENU

Pervert who took upskirt photo of 13-year-old girl found innocent on privacy charges

Girl's Legs in Skirt

Chris Goldberg/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

How is this not against the law?

A 61-year-old man broke no laws when he took his cellphone out in a Target store and snapped an upskirt photo of a 13-year-old girl, an Oregon judge has ruled.

Patrick Buono of Portland admitted taking the photo on Jan. 3 at a store in Beaverton, Oregon, but was found not guilty of violating laws against invasion of privacy and “attempted encouraging child abuse.”

Buono’s defense attorney, Mark Lawrence, argued that Buono hadn’t broken the privacy law because the young girl he photographed was wearing underwear; the law in question applies only to nudity. 

Additionally, the privacy law bans photographs in bathrooms, locker rooms, and dressing rooms, but does not apply to video or images captured in public areas.

“It’s incumbent on us as citizens to cover up whatever we don’t want filmed in public places,” Lawrence said.

Citing a famous photo of actress Marilyn Monroe as an example, the attorney argued that upskirt sightings can happen by accident in public: for example, while someone is riding an escalator or exiting a car.

Monroe was 28 at the time of her photograph being taken, and her skirt blowing up was part of a movie script.

“Sure, she’s in a public place,” prosecutor Paul Maloney conceded. “But she had an expectation of privacy that a deviant isn’t going to stick a camera up her skirt and capture private images of her body.”

The judge dismissed child pornography charges because the little girl was not engaged in sexual conduct while standing in the Target store aisle. Sexual conduct must be involved for the law to apply.

After issuing his ruling, the judge remarked that the outcome was “upsetting to say the least.”

H/T Associated Press | Photo by Chris Goldberg/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) 

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron

Dell Cameron was a reporter at the Daily Dot who covered security and politics. In 2015, he revealed the existence of an American hacker on the U.S. government's terrorist watchlist. He is a co-author of the Sabu Files, an award-nominated investigation into the FBI's use of cyber-informants. He became a staff writer at Gizmodo in 2017.