San Francisco accounting professor Mark Landis was confronted by some of the students he allegedly taped while using the toilet nearly nine months before his arrest, had allegedly taken nearly 180 hidden-camera bathroom videos before then, and had left what police characterize as a "suicide note," court records reveal.
As you might recall, Landis, who taught accounting at SF State and USF, was arrested on July 23 and charged with 15 misdemeanor counts of invasion of privacy after a lengthy investigation by the San Francisco Police Department.
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According to court records obtained by the Bay Area Reporter, Landis' alleged house of hidden-camera cards began to tumble during a student celebration at his 17th Street home on November 16, 2013.
The party sounded so nice! "We chatted, we had a couple of drinks,” one attendee later told SFPD, but at 11 p.m., things took a turn when, while taking a pee, the party guest reached for a tissue from the toilet-top box. That's when Landis' guest says he discovered a hidden camera, then, Sergeant Chahmal Kerow said in a probable cause statement, "freaked out and thought if the camera was turned on, he will be caught and Landis will find out."
The man ended up taking the camera's memory card, told two fellow guests what was afoot, and left the party. The following morning, the friends reconvened at Dolores Park, then confronted Landis, telling him that they'd found the camera and that they were going to warn people against coming to his home. Then, four of the people who were caught on the memory card went to SFPD's Mission Station and turned the card over to police.
According to the SFPD, the memory card's files include an October 25, 2013 video of Landis setting up the camera, followed by 180 brief videos of men and women using Landis' toilet. Almost all of the videos, the BAR reports, show the genitals of the bathroom-users.
According to court records, SFPD also seized four laptops, seven flash drives, two memory cards, a digital camera, and a “last will and testament - suicide note,” from Landis, the BAR reports.
Landis shared a lease on the apartment where the alleged crimes occurred with a person named Hoi Le. Both were evicted from the apartment for alleged non-payment of rent in June, 2014. It is unclear if Landis remained in San Francisco following the eviction.
Ngo says that he is "very disappointed" that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon "wants to try this case in the public," requesting a (denied) gag order for prosecutors and saying that "the press might jeopardize my client's right to a fair trial."
Landis, who is presently free on $100,000 bond, is expected to return to court on September 9.