Ridgeview High students were recorded on video in bathrooms on and off campus over a year-long period, according to court documents.
The new details have come to light after a 17-year-old Ridgeview High student was arrested by the Bakersfield Police Department on Friday on suspicion of secretly recording male students in bathrooms and the locker room at the school.
According to court documents, a 17-year-old student said he and a few friends, including the suspect, were at his home watching a movie on Dec. 28 when he went to the bathroom to urinate.
While in the bathroom, the student said he noticed that a bag on the counter belonging to the suspect was positioned toward the toilet. He told police that he became suspicious and believed he was being watched.
Police said the student checked the bag and found an Apple iPod that appeared to be recording. When he stopped the recording and reviewed the video, the teen found that it had recorded him urinating and that his genitals were exposed, according to the documents.
The student confronted his friend, who “admitted to setting up the device to record in an effort to make his girlfriend jealous,” according to the court documents.
Police said the teen kept the iPod and reviewed additional videos of himself and other students dating back a year. The student said the videos were of himself at his residence as well as ones taken of him and other male students in a locker room and bathroom at Ridgeview High.
According to the court documents, the videos showed the victim and others in various stages of undress.
The teen said he believed the suspect was sending the videos to one or more people, possibly through social media. He reported the incident to his parents and school staff, after which police were notified on Jan. 3.
The Kern High School District said it immediately contacted law enforcement after learning about the allegations and said it has been cooperating with the investigation.
The teen was booked into Kern County Juvenile Hall on Friday on multiple counts of invasion of privacy, police said. It was unclear Tuesday if he remained in custody as police don't provide that information on minors.
“These allegations are very troubling and we understand that there are questions and concerns. However, the district is unable to provide further details because it is obligated to protect the privacy and due process rights of the students and to not compromise the integrity of law enforcement’s ongoing investigation,” the district said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with our students and the entire Ridgeview community.”
New board member Jan Graves said she was surprised to hear about the arrest.
“I’m sorry that it happened,” she said. “We don’t want this in our public schools. We want everyone to be safe, so people can go to the bathroom without an invasion of privacy.”
While Graves said she understands parents and students may be upset about the situation, she hopes the suspect will be treated fairly.
“I think this person needs to be helped,” she said. “I hope he can get the help he needs.”