- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 8, 2015

A 61-year-old Oregon man did not commit a crime when he crouched down in an aisle of a Target store and took pictures up a 13-year-old girl’s skirt, a judge ruled Thursday.

“From a legal point of view, which unfortunately today is my job to enforce, he didn’t do anything wrong,” Judge Eric Butterfield said.

Patrick Buono of Portland was acquitted of two counts of invasion of privacy and two counts of attempted second-degree encouraging child sex abuse, The Oregonian reported.

Mr. Buono didn’t dispute using his cellphone to take upskirt photos of the young girl on Jan. 3, 2014, at a Target in Beaverton.

Defense attorney Mark Lawrence argued that his client took the photos in a public place. Privacy law bans clandestine photography in bathrooms, locker rooms, dressing rooms and tanning booths, but the Target aisle was plainly public, Mr. Lawrence said, The Oregonian reported.

The privacy law also specifies nudity, and the girl was wearing underwear, Mr. Lawrence said.

Deputy District Attorney Paul Maloney countered: “Sure, she’s in a public place. But she had an expectation of privacy that a deviant isn’t going to stick a camera up her skirt and capture private images of her body.”

As for the charge related to child sex abuse, Mr. Lawrence said the girl was clearly not engaging in sexual conduct, which that statute specifies, The Oregonian reported.

Mr. Maloney argued that Mr. Buono took the photos hoping they would be explicit.

The judge determined that the girl’s private parts were covered and her conduct was not sexual.

“What he’s taken a photograph of is a 13-year-old girl walking through a Target store, which is about as unlewd as you can get,” Judge Butterfield said.


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