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NEWARK, Del. (AP) — A University of Delaware graduate student accused of secretly filming hundreds of women in nearly a dozen restrooms across campus and other locations in Newark has pleaded guilty in the case.
Javier Mendiola-Soto, 39, pleaded guilty Tuesday to 49 counts of felony invasion of privacy as part of a plea agreement with prosecutors. Though each count carries up to two years in prison, prosecutors plan to ask that Mendiola-Soto be sentenced to a total of seven years under the plea agreement.
Sentencing was set for March 27, when some of the women Mendiola-Soto recorded are expected to speak about how the crime has affected them.
Investigators uncovered more than 1,500 videos of women using restrooms at 10 locations at the university, a Goodwill store in Newark, and in Mendiola-Soto's home, which he shared with female roommates, The News Journal reported, (http://delonline.us/1uiOcWd ).
Each of the 49 counts Mendiola-Soto pleaded guilty to relates to individual women. Most of the women filmed by Mendiola-Soto couldn't be identified, Deputy Attorney General Martin O'Connor said.
Mendiola-Soto's attorney described his client as a "shy nerd" who had difficulty meeting women because of a physical disability and the fact he's from Mexico.
"He was completely isolated, socially," attorney T. Andrew Rosen said, adding that his client unfortunately turned to secret cameras as a way of connecting with women.
Both Rosen and investigators said there was no evidence that Mendiola-Soto shared any of the videos online.
Mendiola-Soto told the judge Tuesday that at the time of his arrest, he working on two doctoral degrees. He was expelled shortly after being arrested.
Mendiola-Soto had been attending the university on a student visa, and because he's a Mexican national, will likely be deported after his prison term.
Information from: The News Journal of Wilmington, Del., http://www.delawareonline.com
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