States Crack Down on 'Upskirting' Voyeurs

ByABC News
October 10, 2000, 5:12 PM

Oct. 10 -- When Gina Bell discovered that a man following her around a church festival was secretly videotaping up her dress, there wasnt much prosecutors could do about it.

That changed today, however, when Ohio became just the second state in the country to enact a law that specifically protects women from being clandestinely filmed in public under or through their clothes.

The legislation boosts penalties for surreptitiously filming up a womans skirt or down her shirt, practices known as upskirting and downblousing, to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine, from the previous 30 days and $500 fine. California, where a similar law went into effect Jan. 1, has the same punishment.

Several other states, including Alaska and Missouri, also have laws outlawing video voyeurism, imposing fines up to $1,000 and a year in jail, according to data from Connecticuts state Office of Legislative Research.

Many other states have laws that prohibit taking pictures of people in private places such as dressing rooms or restrooms, but they offer only limited protection against video voyeurs in public places, as Bell learned earlier this year.

Not a Victimless CrimeBell was waiting for a carnival ride at a church festival with her baby daughter when she became spooked by the man behind her.

As I crouched down to put the baby in my stroller, I saw a video camera sticking out of his bag, taping up my dress, the 34-year-old former kindergarten teacher recalled.

The man who photographed Bell, David Bartolucci, pleaded no contest to voyeurism and possession of criminal tools and served 10 days in jail. He was also ordered to spend 30 days in home detention, serve 200 hours of community service and enroll in a therapy program.

Bartolucci had secretly photographed 13 women that day and had unknowingly filmed his own face, which police used to identify him, police said.

Bartoluccis attorney, John Luskin, says his client was under the influence of alcohol.