Man sentenced to home detention after secretly filming women for porn site uploads

Warning: This story contains reference to sexual assault and self-harm.

Women who were filmed without their consent and had their videos uploaded to porn websites say they now struggle to use public bathrooms for fear of hidden cameras.

A man charged with secretly filming videos of women, including three teenagers, and uploading them to the internet was been sentenced to 10 months of home detention at the Wellington District Court today.

Allen Abad, 25, pleaded guilty to charges of blackmail, making an intimate visual recording, and publishing an intimate visual recording.

The blackmail charge related to one particular victim, to whom he threatened to expose an intimate video he had taken without her consent.

The court heard six victim impact statements from people and their families, who were filmed without their knowledge between March 2015 and August 2019.

The recordings were taken with the use of hidden cameras, in bathrooms, toilets and in the church where some of the victims and the defendant attended.

One victim who was filmed in their family house said they had been forced to leave, as home had been “corrupted in a perverted way”.

The victim said they felt anxiety within their home and even within Wellington after discovering they had been secretly filmed.

“The offender took away my sense of safety and independence,” the statement read.

“Regardless of the outcome I feel something has been stolen from me.”

“My body isn’t mine any more, it was taken without my permission and given to thousands online.”

Another victim said: “A private part of me was exposed and I don’t know how many people have seen it.”

One of the other victims said finding out a video of her appeared on a porn site had been “the darkest moment of my life”.

“No matter how many layers of clothing I put on, I never felt like it was enough. I always felt naked.”

Other victim statements read they had struggled to use public bathrooms and toilets in other people’s homes, and been driven to depression, anxiety and self-harm as a result of the recordings.

The police investigation began in 2019 after parents reported that pictures of their 14-year-old daughter showering had appeared online.

A search warrant conducted in August 2019 uncovered “what can only be described as a library of intimate stored images” in the home of the defendant, Judge Bruce Davidson said before the court.

The police seized the defendant’s computer, hard drive and spy camera, which had been used to secretly film victims in bathrooms and toilets.

The recordings show victims using the toilet, showering, getting dressed or using sanitary products.

The court also heard the devices contained many other videos “voyeuristic” in nature, filmed in public places and at church, and that the defendant focused on victim’s clothed genitals, breasts and bottom.

Judge Bruce Davidson said the defendant had uploaded about two thirds of recordings to a pornographic website, where his profile was viewed 370,000 times in one month.

Three of the victims were teenage girls.

Judge Davidson said the defendant had planted cameras in bathrooms and toilets, in situations where the victims had “reasonable expectations of privacy”.

He described the case as “insidious, concerning and treacherous” and said the defendant had “totally scuttled any expectation each [victim] had of privacy”.

The defendant was sentenced to 10 months’ home detention, under the conditions that he do not contact the victims, undergo a sex offender programme, and make available upon request any device capable of connecting with the internet.

Judge Davidson said the main reason the defendant would not be imprisoned was so that he could access the sex offender programme.

“If you had not made the early commitment to counselling, I would have no hesitation to send you to prison,” he said.

“A very strong message is needed when this comes before the court.”

The judge also said the defendant’s remorse was evident through his guilty pleas, attendance at restorative justice meetings and self-referral to counselling, which were mitigating factors that had contributed to the lightening of the sentence.

SEXUAL HARM – DO YOU NEED HELP?

If it’s an emergency and you feel that you or someone else is at risk, call 111.
If you’ve ever experienced sexual assault or abuse and need to talk to someone contact the Safe to Talk confidential crisis helpline on:
• Text 4334 and they will respond
• Email support@safetotalk.nz
• Visit https://safetotalk.nz/contact-us/ for an online chat
Alternatively contact your local police station – click here for a list.
If you have been abused, remember it’s not your fault.

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