Morewood live-in mentor arrested for invasion of privacy
On Thursday morning, ex-Carnegie Mellon student Daniel Jorge was arrested on invasion of privacy charges for allegedly taking photos and videos of fellow Morewood E-Tower residents in the shower and bathrooms.
Jorge, who was a live-in mentor on the sixth floor of the first-year dormitory, was expelled last semester after students accused him of holding his cell phone above the showers they occupied. The first accusations came in early September, according to WPXI.com.
At the beginning of this semester, residents on the sixth floor of E-Tower received an email from their resident assistant saying that “this [floor meeting] was not just a typical start of semester floor meeting. In last nights [sic] meeting we talked about a very serious incident that occurred last semester on our floor.”
According to the email, the floor meeting addressed the incident. Students were then handed a letter which explained the timeline of the incident investigation.
University police opened an investigation after the accusations were made, according to the letter. Jorge’s access to Morewood E-Tower was revoked the day he admitted to the crime. He was permanently removed from campus the day after and will not be returning.
University police then enlisted the help of forensics specialists at the Pennsylvania State Police crime lab. The specialists analyzed data from electronic devices confiscated from Jorge. The analysis revealed videos of eleven men.
“Among these, three videos include partial or full images from the neck up that positioned University Police and Student Life to successfully identify three of the men whose images were captured on video,” the letter says. “The remaining eight video clips include images of torsos, waists, legs, and/or feet that do not enable the viewer to ascertain the identity of the person in the video.”
The letter ends with a statement assuring residents that there is no evidence that the videos and images were shared online and encourages residents to seek out help from their resident assistant, community adviser, housefellow, Associate Dean of Student Affairs John Hannon, Counseling and Psychological Services, and the Coordinator of Sexual Violence Prevention Jess Klein.
The university released a media statement on Thursday afternoon, once the arrest was made public, but most university affiliates have declined to comment, redirecting inquiries to media relations staff or to Dean of Student Affairs Gina Casalegno.
“In our media statement, we were clear that for any of the individuals impacted by this incident, we have offered the support of the student life staff and the university staff,” Casalegno said in an interview with The Tartan. “We’ve advised the individual victims of their rights to the criminal process and ensured that they have the knowledge and information necessary to make decisions for themselves about what they wish to do.”
Casalegno also explained why a campuswide email was not sent out about this incident: “Cases [with] forensic evidence take time.... We were aware of a concern, investigation was promptly initiated, the individual involved was identified, immediately thereafter left campus, and from my vantage point at that point, investigation is important to be ongoing so we can bring the matter to resolution. But the impact or potential risk to campus was immediately mitigated.”
As for general campus communications, Casalegno said not to expect a campus-wide email regarding the situation.
“We don’t routinely send campuswide emails about any matter that involves the confidential student record, and this situation involves more than one of those records. This situation is one that involves protecting the privacy of individuals, which is our utmost concern. If it relates to anything that involves the safety of our community — if we believe that there is any reason the safety of our community could be compromised — then we will send a campuswide message,” she said. “In a case like this one, because of the immediacy of the former student’s departure from campus, there wasn’t a threat to the community. There wasn’t a situation that we were concerned put anybody at risk.”
Casalegno said that on Thursday morning when the story broke, her office had communicated with the residents of E-Tower to make sure that they knew that they had a choice to make regarding whether or not to speak to the media, stressing that the dormitory is a private building that the media may not enter.
The university was not aware that Jorge was turning himself in to the Pennsylvania State Police or would be arrested on Thursday, and they currently have no insight into how the details of the arrest and incident were obtained by the press, according to Casalegno.
Jorge is slated for trial on March 5.