Seattle voyeurs given OK by court
ThereÃs a song that says Ã¬if youÃre going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.Ã® I have another travel-related fashion tip: If youÃre a woman heading to Seattle be sure to wear long pants.
On Sept. 19, a day that will go down as a red-letter day for perverts, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled that filming up womenÃs skirts was not actually against the law under the stateÃs current statute. They did say that it is Ã¬disgusting and reprehensible,Ã® but not illegal. The stateÃs voyeurism law, according to the Court, Ã¬does not apply to actions taken in purely public places.Ã®
The courtÃs decision overturns the convictions of two men: Richard Sorrells and Sean Glas. It was the efforts of SorrellsÃ attorney, Ken Sharaga, that got the convictions thrown out. He said, Ã¬Something can be wrong and offensive but still not be a crime.Ã® This is why everyone hates lawyers.
Sorrells was arrested in July of 2000 when Jolene Jang caught him going through her purse. Sorrells ran and was chased down by JangÃs boyfriend. When the police came, Sorrells made it clear that he was not trying to steal. Ã¬I did not have my hand in her purse. I was holding my camera so I could videotape up her dress. IÃm not a thief; IÃm a peeping Tom.Ã® Quite clear. Sorrells is a deviant but not a thief. Stealing is wrong.
Glas was arrested for taking pictures at a mall. He was spotted when his flash went off. ItÃs a good thing he was stupid. Police say Glas was planning to sell his pictures to a Web site.
To their credit, WashingtonÃs legislature is working on a law that would make it illegal to secretly photograph a person Ã¬under or through clothing.Ã® ThatÃs a step in the right direction.
The law right now says people should be safe from Ã¬hostile intrusion or surveillance,Ã® but the court doesnÃt think that having some perv sticking a camera up a strangerÃs skirt qualifies as hostile surveillance. Judge Bobbe Bridge (I swear, thatÃs the first name) said that itÃs the location of the person thatÃs at issue, Ã¬not the part of the personÃs body.Ã®
It seems that until the legislature gets a new law passed, itÃs open season for this kind of sick behavior. DonÃt get me wrong, I donÃt care what consenting adults do, but this is done surreptitiously without the permission of the person being filmed or photographed.
Sorrells, Glas and their creepy brethren need to be punished. These are the kinds of people who re-offend. They usually donÃt stop, and itÃs not out of the question that their behavior could escalate. Sorrells was sentenced to treatment for sexual deviancy. Even though itÃs no longer required, he vows to finish the program. He talks big, but itÃs no longer required and, presumably, he wonÃt get in trouble if he fails to finish.
Since the convictions were overturned, itÃs off their record and wonÃt count against them the next time theyÃre arrested (and there will be a next time).
Ladies in Seattle, pending legislative action, you are not safe. Degenerates like Sorrells and Glas can film you at will. You can end up on the Internet and never even know it. So, like I said, wear long pants.
Chris Ricketts is a junior majoring in English.