Recordings of women in church restroom leads to arrest

Woodland police arrested a man accused of recording women in a church bathroom with his cell phone. (Friday, May 8, 2015)

A Sacramento man was arrested for allegedly recording women and children using a restroom at a Woodland church.

Sgt. Brett Hancock with the Woodland Police Department said Stephen Masalta, 23, is facing felony allegations of eavesdropping or recording confidential information and sexual exploitation of a minor. He is also accused of concealing a camera in a restroom to take photos of people in a state of undress, a misdemeanor.

The pastor of New Life Community Church on Walnut Street informed police on April 5 of a member of the congregation finding a cellphone secretly recording females in the restroom, Hancock said.

Detectives checked the phone and approximately two hours of recordings of women and minors in the restroom were found, according to Hancock. He said the police investigation determined Masalta owned the phone.

Masalta was a musician at the church, according to Hancock.

Investigators served a search warrant at Masalta's residence and found other storage devices.

"The electronic device they recovered, they did an analysis on it, and found more victims and that these video recordings had started about four months ago," Hancock said.

Detectives said they have identified 19 of 20 victims seen on the tapes and notified them. Detectives continue to try to identify the 20th victim.

People who live nearby said it's unsettling to have such a thing happen in their neighborhood.

"I don't know, I'm just, I'm worried about my neighborhood," Woodland resident Diane Reisenauer said. "I like to think my neighborhood is safe, but I don't know and especially being at a church that makes it even more disturbing."


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