Knock it Off, Peeping Tom! Florida’s Recent Problem with Voyeurism

April 7, 2022 Criminal Defense

When people hear the word “Peeping Tom” the image that most likely comes to mind is from the portrayals on television: a guy secretly looking through a hole in the wall, watching someone in another room undress.

Although that is technically correct, there is more to it than just that. Peeping Tom Laws fall under the charge of voyeurism. Every state has its own laws for voyeurism, but most jurisdictions consider it a very serious crime. Florida is one of the states that takes a voyeurism charge very seriously. A video voyeurism conviction can lead to extensive fines and jail time.

There have been several recent cases of voyeurism in the state of Florida, which may hint that it is an ongoing issue in the state. It is important to understand these laws, as well as their potential penalties. We will review Florida’s recent issues with voyeurism and video voyeurism cases.  

Getting hit with a voyeurism or video voyeurism charge is no light issue. If you or someone you know has been accused of being a so-called “Peeping Tom,” your best bet is to familiarize yourself with the laws and reach out to an experienced voyeurism defense attorney.

What is Voyeurism?

Under Section 810.14 of the Florida Statutes, voyeurism is when a person secretly observes another person with lewd, lascivious, or indecent intent. In order to be in violation of the statute, the  accused “Peeping Tom” must have observed the other person while they were located in a dwelling, structure, or conveyance which provides a reasonable expectation of privacy.

Furthermore, the accused must have observed another person’s intimate areas when the person has the expectation of privacy, and the other person is located in a public or private area, structure, or conveyance. “Intimate area” is defined as any part of a person’s body or undergarments that is covered by clothes and is intended to be shielded or hidden from the public eye. An example of this would be if someone secretly watches another person undressing in a dressing room, or in their home.

Included within the Florida law is “video voyeurism.” This is an added category for when a person has not only invaded someone’s privacy, but has also secretly taken pictures or videos of the victim. There are special stipulations for video voyeurism under Florida law.

Specifically under Section 810.145(2) of the Florida Statutes, video voyeurism occurs when a person uses an imaging device, such as a cell phone, camera, iPad, or film recorder, to secretly view the following:

  • Another person who is dressing, undressing, or privately exposing their body; or
  • Underneath or through another person’s clothing, for the purpose of viewing the other person’s body or undergarments.

In addition, video voyeurism is committed when the person is motivated by entertainment, amusement, sexual arousal, gratification, or to intentionally profit off the images or videos they secretly take of another person.

To find out more about video voyeurism, the penalties associated with a conviction, and possible defenses to a video voyeurism charge, read our blog here.

Recent Voyeurism and Video Voyeurism Cases in Florida  

  • Barry Alan Porterfield, a man living in Leon County, has been arrested on repeat video voyeurism charges. Porterfield is the property manager of a west-side mobile home park, and was arrested on May 16th after the tenants of Dura Circle made complaints about a “Peeping Tom”.

The neighbors claimed they were 100% positive that it was Porterfield who was looking in through their blinds, yet he denied his involvement in the incident. However, his statements to the police were conflicting, and he also had prior charges of voyeurism in both 2007 and 2010. Porterfield also has prior accusations from 2015 of stalking and harassing another tenant of Dura Circle, and even potentially sneaking into her home while she was out.

While Porterfield’s first two convictions were misdemeanor charges, his most recent arrest for voyeurism will be considered a third-degree felony due to the fact he is a repeat offender.

  • Rafael Martinez, 60, has been both arrested and fired from a local news station after video voyeurism accusations. After working for Local 10 News for over 20 years, the employee was fired when another employee complained that they believed Martinez was secretly filming other coworkers. Martinez’s company cell phone was confiscated by the Broward Sheriff’s Office, where they found multiple videos from underneath the anchor’s desk, the control room, as well as a newsroom referred to as “the tower”.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office confirmed that Martinez was arrested for video voyeurism and unlawful use of a two-way communication device. Found on the company phone were videos filming up coworkers skirts, as well as private images that were the result of the cell phone being placed in secretive spots without the knowledge of the victims. The security cameras at Local 10 News revealed Martinez setting his phone up in several locations.

Local 10 News covered the incident on their own news platform. Bert Medina, president and CEO of WPLG, stated, “we need to be transparent when [this] happens in our building. And to the viewers, we pledge that we will be completely transparent as this story develops.” Martinez has been arrested with a total bond of $60,000, and now faces third-degree felony charges of video voyeurism.

  • A Frontier pilot was arrested for filming a UCF student inside her apartment. Vernon Dwayne Crider, 55, was arrested by UCF police on October 5th, 2021, after a college student found his camera placed outside of her apartment window at The Pointe in Central Florida.

Frontier Airlines confirmed that the pilot had flown into Orlando three days prior to the incident on September 20th, 2021. The UCF student spotted a green light flashing outside of her window, and upon inspection realized it was a spy pen video camera. Police uncovered a 1-inch hole that Crider had cut into the victim’s window screen to place the hidden camera.

In an interview with Fox 35 News, the victim’s mother voiced her concerns on the incident. “How many other towns does he fly into?” she asked the interviewer. “And how many other apartments does he go by? How many girls does he potentially follow? How long has this gone on?”

Crider was charged with burglary of an occupied dwelling and attempted video voyeurism. He had first been transported to the Orange County Jail after his arrest, but was able to post bond and is now believed to be back in his home state of Missouri while awaiting formal charges.

To read more about voyeurism and alarming recent cases, you can find our blog here.

Finding a Voyeurism Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

A voyeurism charge in Florida is a very serious offense, and it is of the utmost importance to seek out proper legal advice from a skilled Tallahassee Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. If you or a loved one have been accused of voyeurism or video voyeurism under the Peeping Tom Laws in Florida, make sure you reach out to an experienced defense attorney in your area. Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm have represented clients all across the state and understand what it takes to assist your legal needs. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message today for a free consultation.

Written by Karissa Key

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