By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — A 55-year-old Town of Tainter resident arrested in January for secretly videotaping a woman at his photography business while she changed clothes in a bathroom in between photo shoots has been found guilty of two misdemeanors.
James E. Kernan, the owner of “Picture Perfect Photography” located on 562nd Street in the Town of Tainter, appeared in Dunn County Circuit Court for a plea and sentencing hearing August 13.
Kerman was arrested on a felony charge of depicting nudity after a 25-year-old woman contacted the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department January 21.
Initially, Kernan was charged with one felony count of capturing an image of nudity, one misdemeanor count of invading privacy using a surveillance device and one misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct.
During the August 13 court hearing, Judge James M. Isaacson approved a deferred prosecution agreement on the felony charge of capturing an image of nudity.
As part of the plea deal, Kernan pleaded no contest to the two misdemeanor counts, and Judge Isaacson found him guilty of invading privacy and disorderly conduct.
On the charge of invading privacy, Kernan was sentenced to ten days in the county jail with Huber privileges along with 160 hours of community service, of which 80 hours must be completed by July 1, 2015.
Judge Isaacson also sentenced Kernan to two years of probation on both misdemeanor counts concurrent on each count.
In addition, Judge Isaacson ordered Kernan to have no contact with the victim, to complete sex offender treatment and to pay for any counseling for the victim.
Kernan has 60 days to report to the Dunn County jail. He also was ordered to pay $886 in court costs and surcharges.
According to a news release from the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department, the woman reported that she believed she had been videotaped in a bathroom last January without her permission at a business called Picture Perfect Photography being operated out of a residence in the Town of Tainter.
During one of several trips to the bathroom, the victim observed what she believed to be a hidden video camera in the bathroom where she was changing clothes in between photo shoots.
The woman removed the memory card from the camera, and when she viewed the contents of the card, she saw a video of the male photographer placing the camera in the bathroom.
The video also showed the victim in various states of undress.
The victim then contacted the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department.
Sheriff’s deputies executed a search warrant at the residence, and Kernan was arrested.
According to the news release, the Dunn County Sheriff’s Department had no indication that other clients of the business were videotaped without their consent.
According to news reports, Kernan told investigators that he had set up the video camera because he was missing two dresses valued at a couple of hundred dollars each and that he suspected the woman had taken them.
A court hearing to check on the status of the deferred prosecution agreement is scheduled for August of 2016.