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Ex-Hotel Employee Accused of Installing Hidden Camera in Bathroom to Stand Trial

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Ex-Hotel Employee Pleads Guilty to Installing Hidden Camera in Bathroom Ex-Hotel Employee Pleads Guilty to Installing Hidden Camera in Bathroom
Indio, CA -

A former Palm Springs hotel employee who allegedly installed a hidden camera found by a guest inside a bathroom must stand trial on burglary and invasion of privacy charges, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Oscar Patino-Aguilar, 31, is accused of hiding a camera inside a bathroom light fixture in a room at the Baymont Inn & Suites at 390 S. Indian Canyon Drive.

Prosecutors, who last month added a felony burglary count to the list of charges the defendant faces, allege that he installed the camera inside a room where two women and two teenage girls were staying on June 13, 2016.

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According to a declaration in support of an arrest warrant, Patino- Aguilar showed the group to their room, after which the women and girls then went to the pool. When one of the women returned to the hotel room to retrieve some water, she noticed a hotel worker wearing an ``Oscar'' nameplate inside the room, with the lights off and curtains drawn, and said he rushed out.

She searched through her belongings to see if anything had been taken, then noticed that the light bulb directly above the toilet was positioned at a strange angle, and upon further examination, found ``a small electronic object hugging the light bulb,'' aimed toward the toilet, according to the declaration.

Patino-Aguilar was later detained in the hotel lobby and initially denied any knowledge of the camera, but later admitted to a Palm Springs police officer that he placed the camera in the room, court papers allege.

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Patino-Aguilar pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor invasion of privacy charge in September, but withdrew his plea about a week later upon learning that it could lead to his deportation, according to his attorney, Bosky Kathuria.

A signed declaration by Patino-Aguilar, a DACA recipient, indicates he believed any immigration consequences would only apply to illegal immigrants. He was slated to be sentenced to two years in state prison, with only one to be served in custody prior to withdrawing the plea.

Patino-Aguilar, who is next due in court Dec. 19 for a post-preliminary hearing arraignment, also faces charges of bringing drugs into county jail and possession of controlled substances.

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