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Dave Olson, Published May 06 2008

Fewer charges sought

The lawyer representing a man accused of setting up a camera in a Concordia College women’s shower says the number of charges against his client should be reduced from seven to one.

Attorney Gregory Joseph told Clay County District Court Judge Galen Vaa on Monday that the seven counts of interfering with privacy filed against Steven James Sopko, 31, are based on a law that makes it illegal to place a recording device in a place where people would expect privacy.

A crime is committed when such a device is planted; it doesn’t matter whether someone’s image is recorded or not, Joseph told Vaa.

By the same logic, Joseph said, it doesn’t matter whether pictures of one person or 2,000 people are captured: “This is a single criminal act,” he said.

Clay County Attorney Brian Melton told Vaa that images of seven women were recorded and that each was a separate crime.

Sopko, 31, was a custodian at Concordia before his arrest Dec. 28.

The day before, members of the Concordia College women’s basketball team told police they were taking a shower after practice when one of them found a camera hidden in an air duct.

When police played the recording, it showed Sopko’s face as he placed the camera in the duct, according to court documents.

Vaa said he would rule later on the defense motion to dismiss six of the charges.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555