The man arrested for allegedly videotaping young girls in a West Mobile restaurant’s bathroom a few weeks ago turned himself in to the Mobile County Metro Jail for an additional charge of criminal surveillance Thursday, after a victim came forward to identify herself in footage found on the man’s cell phone.
Patrick Herron, who was charged with four misdemeanor counts of criminal surveillance earlier this month, is now facing five counts of a crime committed when one “intentionally engages in surveillance while trespassing on private property.”After Herron was observed filming a Mobile’s woman’s 11-year-old daughter in the bathroom of San Miguel restaurant on Schillinger Road Sept. 7 and promptly detained and arrested, other women who had visited the restaurant that Sunday were encouraged to come forward and see if they were recorded on the phone authorities recovered from Herron.
Despite the charges’ misdemeanor classification, Mobile County District Attorney Ashley Rich has been very frank when discussing the case, calling it “very serious” and stating that her office would “do everything in its power to upgrade those charges.”
In previous reports, Rich said that none of the children Herron is accused of filming were recorded in a way that displayed their genitals, a circumstance she said would meet the definition of child pornorgrphy.
But it’s also possible Rich could use a recently-passed law to have Herron face an upgraded sentence, if he’s convicted.
In 2012, a bill sponsored by Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) gave prosecutors the discretion to place those convicted of criminal surveillance under those circumstances on the sex offender registry.
That bill was prompted by a “peeping Tom” in the Decatur area who was repeatedly arrested for criminal surveillance without any substantial criminal consequence.
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