Victims fight back: 'Look what we can do, not look what was done to us'

Victims fight back: 'Look what we can do, not look what was done to us'

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - A mother whose 10-year-old daughter was allegedly recorded on a secret video camera by the neighbor next door said she is on a mission to make the misdemeanor crime a felony.

“I’m interested in changing the law in Oregon so the next family doesn’t have to be traumatized further by finding out there’s not more punishment,” said Chrystal Stutesman at her home in Springfield on Thursday.

Dana Bishop, 63, is in the Springfield Jail on numerous counts of invasion of privacy, all misdemeanor charges. He's accused of using a camera to spy on Stutesman's daughter.

“A year is all he’s going to get,” said Stutesman. “He’s not going to be a sex offender. He can move to someone else’s neighborhood, and do the same thing to somebody else.”

The State of Oregon does not have any video voyeurism laws. Stutesman said she wants to see the laws changed.

“I’m not just concerned with Oregon changing the law,” she said. “A lot of states have laws like this that aren’t sufficient.”

Initially, Bishop was released from jail after he posted $10,000 bail on 10 counts of invasion of privacy. Bishop returned to his residence in Springfield, and Stutesman said her family immediately moved out because they did not feel safe in their home anymore.

Last week Bishop was arrested by Springfield Police on 35 additional counts of invasion of privacy. All the charges were related to the same alleged 10-year-old victim. After a letter written by Bishop mentioning the girl surfaced, a judge decided to keep him behind bars without bail.

Sometime after Bishop’s first arrest, Stutesman said she became enraged that the crimes he faced were only misdemeanors. That’s when she said she started a Facebook page titled “Make Video Voyeurism A Felony & A Sex Offense!!!”
 
Creswell City Councilman Jacob Daniels, a local family law attorney, said he "liked" the page and began working on a plan to get a new law passed in Oregon.

“If an underage subject is being filmed by a neighbor or something like that, it’s only a misdemeanor,” Daniels said, “whereas in a lot of other states it’s a felony.”

Daniels said he wrote a letter to Oregon Senator Tim Knopp, who agreed to help draft a new law making video voyeurism involving minors a felony.

“It would serve as a stronger deterrent for crimes like this,” said Daniels. “It also would keep people locked away that are predators towards our children.”

Stutesman and her 10-year-old daughter traveled to Salem on Wednesday to meet with Senator Knopp.

With the Oregon legislative session almost halfway over for 2013, Daniels said he is hoping the new law will be added as an amendment to an existing bill already introduced to the House of Representatives.

“When something like this happens to you, you can stick up for yourself,” said Stutesman. “You don’t have to just put up with what the circumstances are.”

Stutesman added that she hopes her daughter can learn something positive about the legislative process from her traumatizing encounter.

“I hope that’s what she takes from this when she looks back on it,” said Stutesman, “Look what we can do, not look what was done to us.”