A couple is outraged after discovering their 4-year-old child was illegally recorded in a public bathroom.
The video was filmed on Snapchat and posted online after circulating around the City of Charlottesville.
The 4-year-old shown the video was using the bathroom at a restaurant in Albemarle County when a teenager took out his cell phone and pushed record.
The parents — who reached out to 8News and gave permission to show their son and the video — believe the suspect is being protected by the law because he’s a minor.
“My kid is 4-year-old and can’t defend himself,,” the child’s father, Tristan Kabesa, said of the video, which shows a teenager holding a cell phone up to the bathroom mirror recording a child with his pants down standing at a urinal.
“To post it on social media as if it were something to be proud of and boast on was very upsetting.”
Kabesa explained that he had taken his family out to dinner. Their son, J.J., needed to go to the bathroom and took off. Kabesa followed behind, but was slowed by a knee injury and couldn’t keep up.
As Kabesa made it to the restroom and was walking in …
“He walked out,” Kabesa explained.
Little did Kabesa know at that moment he was face-to-face with the teen accused of recording his son.
When asked if he believed his son was a victim, Kabesa replied, “yes, I believe so.”
“I say he’s a victim because his naked body and face are circulating on social media now.”
A family member saw the Snapchat video and messaged the teen who posted it.
“That’s my cousin. Take it down,” the family member said.
“How am I supposed to know this yo cousin?” the teen replied, along with a series of laughing emojis.
Not amused, that family member reached out to Kabesa.
“He told me he was not taking it down because it was funny. That infuriated me,” Kabesa said.
J.J.’s mother, Kelly Randolph, worried “how this will affect him later on if it ever surfaces,” picked up the phone and called police to file charges.
The suspect made his first court appearance in juvenile court. He’s being tried as a juvenile, but the family says they want more.
“They’re thinking that being 16 or 17 exonerates them from certain punishments, but if maybe we made these punishments a little bit tougher, they will understand that posting such videos on social media is not funny,” Kabesa added.
“There is nothing hilarious about it”
Marcus Messner, a social media professor at VCU, says although social media is a beneficial networking tool, it can be dangerous for minors.
“It’s a competition for likes and shares, things that they’re posting today seem to be funny and they might look irresponsible,” Messner explained. “The consequences can be imminent because high school students do not necessarily think about the legal repercussions.
“Recording children naked is a crime, it’s a serious crime. It’s not a joke. There is nothing funny about a child being naked on video.”
The suspect is not being identified since he is a juvenile. He’s been charged with unlawfully recording a child and reproducing a video involving a minor.
He’s being held in custody until his trial later this month.