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News / Clark County News

Washougal man charged with voyeurism, accused of recording women in bathroom

Police say he hid cellphone in home he was hired to clean

By Doug Flanagan, Post-Record staff writer
Published: May 23, 2024, 4:45pm

WASHOUGAL — A Washougal man is facing voyeurism charges after allegedly hiding a cellphone camera inside a home he was hired to clean.

Emanuiel Cota, 34, made a first appearance on a warrant May 14 in Clark County Superior Court on four counts of first-degree voyeurism. Judge John Fairgrieve set bail at $10,000. Cota will be arraigned May 28.

On April 13, Washougal police responded to a suspicious circumstance call at a home on L Street. The caller said they found a cellphone wedged under a bathroom cupboard, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

“The cellphone was positioned so the camera was facing toward the shower,” the affidavit states. The phone did not belong to the caller and had been connected to a WiFi network.

The resident told officers she had recently hired house cleaners from Chosen Bright Cleaning. Officers contacted the company’s owner, Viktoriia Cota, and discovered the phone belonged to Viktoriia Cota’s husband and employee, Emanuiel Cota, court records say.

According to the affidavit, officers asked for permission to search Emanuiel Cota’s phone .

Police said Emanuiel Cota showed officers a few photos, but he refused to allow officers to search the phone.

Police then obtained a search warrant for the phone April 17.

The Vancouver Police Department’s Digital Evidence and Cybercrime Unit analyzed the phone and found it contained more than 400 one-minute-long videos of the bathroom, recorded April 11, according to the affidavit.

Most of the videos were of an empty bathroom, but three videos showed people in various states of undress and using the toilet, the affidavit states.

Officers also found several videos of Emanuiel Cota recording the interior of the home. In one video, he walked past a mirror, holding the cellphone while it was recording, according the affidavit.

The affidavit said officers also found 64 videos taken inside another bathroom between April and August 2022.

“The videos show two adult females, one older and one younger, using the restroom and showering,” the affidavit states. More charges could be filed in connection with these videos.

On May 9, Washougal police served a warrant at the Cota house, looking for Emanuiel Cota, who was not present, and additional items of potential evidence.

Emanuiel Cota later turned himself in to Washougal police and was arrested May 13.

Clark County Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Erik Podhora said Emanuiel Cota’s charges are class C felonies, which carry penalties of up to five years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000.