A Long Beach State student who was charged with three misdemeanor counts for taking illicit photos and videos of men in the bathroom on campus will not be charged with a felony if similar cases arise, prosecutor says.
“Invasion of privacy in California is considered a low-level misdemeanor,” said Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert. “Unfortunately, many of our laws are misdemeanors that carry, sometimes, light consequences.”
The details of the incident all fall under the California Penal Code Section 647 (j) PC where Romuloromel Almazan Receno filmed students in a private area like the bathroom without their consent. Therefore, he will only be charged with multiple counts of misdemeanors if more victims come forward.
Receno, 22, was arrested on Feb. 21 after filming a male resident showering at Parkside North. When the resident confronted him, Receno fled. Police later found Receno after receiving two statements from CSULB students, according to the prosecutor.
“The school took this very seriously from the moment they learned about it,” Haubert said, who commended the University Police Department for their response. “They did a very good and solid, thorough job of investigation.”
Besides the resident who primarily reported the crime, another CSULB student gave their statement which led to finding Receno. He was caught the same day the report was filed.
“While we benefit from a welcoming and safe campus, this incident is a reminder to stay aware of your surroundings and report suspicious behavior,” said Corry Colonna, executive director of Housing and Residential Life, in a statement. “We are grateful to law enforcement for acting quickly and appropriately.”
CSULB officials did not respond for comment when asked to provide a statement on Receno’s enrollment status.
Resident Julie Sanchez said she heard conversations circle between other residents about the incident but it was not confirmed until she read news articles online. Sanchez said she did not recall receiving an email from Housing and Residential Life regarding the situation.
“Men are taught to be shameful of events like that, so they don’t really come out,” Sanchez said. “I applaud the student who said something because it takes a lot of courage to talk about something like that.”
If a student finds themselves as a victim of invasion of privacy, Haubert said they should go and provide their statement to the university police. UPD’s 24/7 non-emergency line is (562) 985-4101.
Receno has been out on bail since Feb. 22. According to Haubert, the investigation is still ongoing, and more details will be released after Receno’s arraignment on May 4 at the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse.