LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A former Livingston church music minister and manager of a Lufkin dollar store pleaded guilty Friday morning to three charges of improper photography.
Nathan Scott Kesler, 36, of Livingston, entered the plea in Judge Gerald Goodwin's courtroom without a deal, meaning he is at the judge's mercy on a sentence.
Kesler's sentencing will be determined at a later date.
He faces up to two years in state jail on each count.
Lufkin Police arrested Kesler in November 2010 following an investigation at Dollar King, located at 501 S. Timberland Drive, in connection to a complaint that he had been using a cell phone in a female restroom to record activity.
The woman said she had used the restroom and noticed the phone on a shelf positioned in such a way that it would record her with the built-in camera. The woman said she left the restroom and was approached by another female employee who said she saw the phone in the restroom.
The woman told police she then saw Kesler, who was a manager at the store, go into the restroom and lock the door, then leave the restroom. The woman then went back into the restroom and saw that the phone had been repositioned.
Police detectives obtained a search warrant which authorized them to search the content of the phone.
"It was using an application on the phone that treated the camera as a motion activated camera when it sensed motion it captured an image - several images in a row - of the person in the room," Lufkin Police Department Det. J.B. Smith said in an earlier interview.
After an interview with Kesler, detectives used search warrants to search Kesler's e-mail accounts and found multiple images from the restroom. The images show two female employees and a child in the restroom, and Kesler placing the phone in the restroom, according to the report.
While Kesler's attorney wouldn't comment on the case just yet, one Lufkin counselor said the act may have been more than just trying to catch a shoplifter.
"What we're looking at, it seems like from just the description is possibly voyeurism," Licensed Professional Counselor Dr. Debra Burton said. "The best way to understand voyeurism, it's also in layman's terms called the peeping tom, but it's where they are aroused and excited by observing an unsuspecting person."
Although Kesler's motive is unclear, the crime is a state jail felony.
"In most cases it's very difficult to really pick out a stereotypical look for someone that has problems with voyeurism," Burton said. "They look very normal, they usually lead very normal lives."
Kesler was listed as a music minister at a church in Livingston. His name has since been removed from that church's website.