Skip to main content

Hidden cameras in University of Delaware restrooms lead to man's arrest

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN
updated 10:14 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Javier Mendiola-Soto, 38, a doctoral student from Mexico. Mendiola-Soto has been charged with 21 counts of violation of privacy.
Javier Mendiola-Soto, 38, a doctoral student from Mexico. Mendiola-Soto has been charged with 21 counts of violation of privacy.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A University of Delaware student allegedly hid cameras in restrooms around campus
  • Police say they think Javier Mendiola-Soto, 38, hid cameras for more than two years
  • An investigation has revealed 1,500 video files, with some 40 victims so far identified
  • Police are contacting victims, and the university is offering counseling to anyone affected

(CNN) -- University of Delaware students are being offered counseling after a doctoral student allegedly hid video cameras in restrooms around the university's Newark campus over a two-year period.

Police were alerted after a hidden camera was discovered in a women's restroom on June 27, the university said.

An investigation led to the arrest of 38-year-old Javier Mendiola-Soto, a doctoral student from Mexico. Mendiola-Soto has been charged with 21 counts of violation of privacy. His visa has been revoked, and he is in custody.

Police searching Mendiola-Soto's home found approximately 1,500 computer video files.

"The analysis concluded that the suspect hid video cameras in other restrooms both on and off campus over a more than two-year period from 2012 until his arrest this month," the university said in a statement.

"The scope of the recordings continues to be a focus of the investigation, and the police are attempting conclusively to identify all potential recorded locations."

Recordings have been traced to two restrooms at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute -- where Mendiola-Soto worked -- a unisex bathroom in the building housing the education department, and women's restrooms in a library, memorial hall and laboratory, the university said.

The investigation has so far identified approximately 40 potential victims. Police are contacting victims, and the university is offering counseling to anyone who requests it in connection with the case.

"It is extremely disturbing that this crime was perpetrated against our community invading the privacy of so many women on and around this campus," university President Patrick Harker said.

"We have implemented several actions already, including security sweeps of all restrooms and changing rooms on all campuses, randomly timed examinations of all restrooms by custodial staff and increased police patrols throughout buildings," he said.

The university's head of campus and public safety, Skip Homiak, said new technology had increased the risk of such crimes.

"Invasions of privacy crimes are becoming an increasing concern on college campuses and in public areas given the ready access to small and sophisticated spying devices," he said.

The university said the investigation was being conducted "under strict guidelines and protocols designed to protect the privacy of any individual whose image may have been captured on video." The video evidence is being securely stored and will be destroyed after criminal proceedings end, it said.

Police say they don't think the images have been uploaded to the Internet or shared.

People who think they may have been recorded should contact the University Police Department hotline at 302-831-4800.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:54 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
A decade on from devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the Red Cross' Matthias Schmale says that the lessons learned have made us safer.
updated 7:24 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
As soon as word broke that "The Interview" will hit some theaters, celebrations erupted across social media -- including from the stars of the film.
updated 1:44 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Did a rogue hacker -- or the U.S. government -- cut the cord for the regime's Internet?
updated 8:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Monaco's newborn royals, Princess Gabriella and Crown Prince Jacques Honore Rainier, posed for their first official photos with their parents.
updated 12:06 PM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web, gives a speech on April 18, 2012 in Lyon, central France, during the World Wide Web 2012 international conference on April 18, 2012 in Lyon.
What's next for the Internet? Acclaimed scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee shares his insights.
updated 3:22 AM EST, Tue December 23, 2014
The United States and North Korea have long been locked in a bitter cycle of escalating and deescalating tensions. But the current cyber conflict may be especially hard to predict.
updated 4:00 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
A chilling video shows Boko Haram executing dozens of non-Muslims.
updated 6:34 AM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
New planes, new flight tests ... but will we get cheaper airfares?
updated 12:46 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
updated 9:51 PM EST, Sun December 21, 2014
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it has never looked better.
updated 11:21 AM EST, Sat December 20, 2014
Unicef has warned that more than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation.
updated 12:01 PM EST, Mon December 22, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT