Defense attorney Rick Cordes argued that his client Joseph Sartori's secret filming of the actress, while "offensive, disgusting," and "humiliating" to the young woman, was not done for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. The language in the state's voyeurism statute requires that a defendant's purpose in committing the act must be sexual gratification.
Cordes argued that because the state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an act of voyeurism was done for the purpose of sexual gratification, Thurston County Superior Court Judge James Dixon must acquit Sartori.
Olympia police arrested Sartori, 25, on March 1, after the actress discovered "disturbing" images of herself on Sartori's computer while editing some "press shots" for an upcoming play, court papers state. The actress and a playhouse employee later found a small camera hidden in the dressing room at the playhouse, along with a memory card.
Sartori initially told police he had bought the camera for playhouse security and surveillance, and to "monitor the cleaning crew," court papers state. He later told an Olympia police officer he had put the camera there "to satisfy a curiosity" about the young woman, and admitted he was aroused by the images of her that he filmed, according to court papers.
"Is he talking about sexual arousal? I don't think we can make that assumption, based on the evidence here," Cordes said.
Cordes also has argued in court papers that just because his client may have been aroused by the images of the actress, if arousal was not his purpose in placing the camera in the dressing room, Judge Dixon must acquit.
Dixon will decide Sartori's innocence or guilt, because Sartori waived his right a jury trial, and instead had a "bench trial" before the judge.
Thurston County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Joe Jackson argued Monday that it is clear that Sartori's act of placing a hidden camera in a dressing room used by the young woman was done for sexual gratification. He dismissed Cordes' arguments to the contrary as "semantics."
Jackson also cited Sartori's admission to an Olympia police officer that he placed the camera in the dressing room to target the young woman for filming, to fulfill his "curiosity."
"His purpose is clear, he was attempting to be aroused by it your honor," Jackson said.
Sartori's former duties at the playhouse included keeping financial records, bookkeeping and playing the piano during performances at the community theater, which runs a number of programs for local children and teens.
Cordes also said during Sartori's evaluation, a mental health professional said it was her opinion that Sartori did not place the camera in the dressing room for the purpose of sexual gratification. Cordes also cited Sartori's oppressive working conditions at the playhouse as leading to a depression that contributed to his overall mental state when he purchased the camera and placed it in the dressing room.
Dixon said at the conclusion of Monday's trial that he will need time to review the evidence to decide the case. He did not give an indication of when he will return with a verdict.