Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 8 / 22 February 2018

Court records reveal details in toilet recording case

Former SF State professor Mark Landis. Photo: Courtesy SF Examiner via SF State

Former SF State professor Mark Landis. Photo: Courtesy SF Examiner via SF State

The former San Francisco accounting professor who was recently arrested for allegedly taking video of people using the bathroom in his Castro district home made at least 180 videos, and his recordings date back to March 2013, according to superior court records.

San Francisco police Sergeant Chahmal Kerow wrote in a probable cause statement that 180 videos were found on a memory card taken from the camera that Mark Landis, 38, is accused of using to make the recordings.

“At least” 23 of the videos showed “identifiable victims,” Kerow said. Many of the images show men’s penises as they urinated, according to the police sergeant.

Landis, who pleaded not guilty Tuesday, July 29 to 15 misdemeanor invasion of privacy counts, is out of custody on $100,000 bail.

Kerow’s statement is among the documents the Bay Area Reporter reviewed after Landis’s arraignment this week. The records say Kerow seized four laptops, seven flash drives, two memory cards, a digital camera, a passport, a travel confirmation page, and other items from Landis’s home. In addition, Kerow wrote that he retrieved a “last will and testament – suicide note.”

Only the victims’ first names and last initials are listed in the complaint. At least one of the victims was a female, the document indicates. Eight of the victims were filmed in November, while four were recorded in May 2013, two were recorded in April 2013, and one was recorded in March 2013.

In his statement, Kerow said that a man and his friends went to Landis’s apartment in the 4000 block of 17th Street the night of Saturday, November 16 “because it was a celebration” for one of them. The records don’t say what was being celebrated, but note Landis was then a professor at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco, and his victims were all former or current students at the schools.

The man, who Kerow identified only as “Victim #1,” told the police sergeant “that at least seven people showed up for the party.” All of them became victims in the case. “We did the usual, we sat, we chatted, we had a couple of drinks,” the man said, according to Kerow’s statement.

At about 11 p.m., the man was using the bathroom and reached for a tissue from the box on top of the toilet. He noticed the box was “shallow,” picked it up, and found that it was “heavy on the bottom.” He turned the box upside down and noticed a blinking light. The man took off the clear cover from the top of the container and saw a memory card, an on/off switch, and a charging plug.

“Victim #1 then realized that the box was a hidden camera and NOT a tissue box,” Kerow wrote. “Victim #1 freaked out and thought if the camera was turned on, he will be caught and Landis will find out.”

The man turned off the camera and tried unsuccessfully to break the box. He took the card, went downstairs, and told two of his friends about the camera. They “agreed that they should not jump to any conclusions because they did not know who owned the camera,” decided to look at the memory card in the morning, and left the apartment.

The next morning the victims met at Dolores Park, then some of them went to Landis’s and told him they’d found the hidden camera “and that they were not going to come to his house again.” They also told him they would “inform anyone that goes to his house” about the bathroom camera.

“Landis responded that he was sorry and that he did not keep any of the videos,” according to Kerow.

The first man – “Victim #1″ – said that the memory card contained 180 videos. They were created from October 25 to November 17. He watched three videos that had images of three females he couldn’t identify using the bathroom. One of the recordings “showed their private body parts including their genitals and buttocks.” He also watched four videos that showed four males that he couldn’t positively identify. The recordings showed the males “urinating in Landis’s bathroom with full view of their genitals.”

The man watched seven videos and was able to positively identify the victims depicted.

One brief video, recorded October 25, shows Landis setting up the camera. The other recordings ranged in length from 23 seconds to just over a minute. Most of the images were taken from about 12 to 2 a.m. All showed victims’ penises as they urinated.

While the first video shows half of the first victim’s face, most of the others don’t appear to reveal faces.

Four of the victims went to the police station in the Mission neighborhood, filed a police report, and gave the memory card to an officer. Landis was arrested July 23. His next court date is September 9. The B.A.R. hasn’t been able to reach him for comment.

Landis’s landlord filed an unlawful detainer lawsuit against him almost four months ago for failing to pay rent, and he was evicted in June, according to court records and documents posted at his former apartment.

Spokeswomen for SFSU and USF have said he no longer works for the schools.

Anyone with information in the Landis case may contact the district attorney’s office at (415) 553-1487.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, August 1, 2014 @ 7:05 pm PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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