CHICAGO - A 19-year-old University of Illinois at Chicago freshman on the men's swim team faces criminal charges for allegedly taking video of women's swimmers undressing in their locker room.
UIC freshman swimmer Joseph Dalesandro is accused of recording women on the Flames' swim team undressing with his iPhone. Investigators said it happened in the women's locker room at the Physical Education Building in February.
As they undressed to put on their swimsuits before practice on Feb. 2, a pair of swimmers on the UIC women's team heard laughter from the beyond the wall their locker room shares with the men's team, Assistant Cook County State's Attorney Joseph Carlson said Friday at a bond hearing.
One of the women looked up at a gap between the locker room ceiling and the wall "expecting the men to throw something over the wall," Carlson said.
Instead, she spotted Dalesandro's iPhone, which had been pointed at the women's locker room, Carlson said. The 20-year-old woman climbed up the lockers and snatched the phone, noting that it had been recording for 45 minutes.
She stopped the recording, but was unable to access the video. She then handed the phone over to university police, Carlson said.
Students on campus are outraged by the incident.
"I think it's messed up because I go to the rec and to the locker room, and you never know when that will happen to you," said Bianca Diaz, student.
"It's really repulsive. That is all I can think about right now. It is really gross," said Sandra Torres, student.
"You are peeping on people. That is an invasion of privacy. How would he like it if someone was filming him," said Corbin Goldflies, student.
"I don't think anyone should be videotaping in locker rooms, like even in our rec center we have signs that say 'Please do not record,'" said Manthan Gokalgandhi, student.
Wearing a blue UIC windbreaker over sweatpants, Dalesandro bowed his head as he stood before Judge Laura Sullivan on Friday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
Dalesandro, a graduate of Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, was ordered held on $50,000 bond, and was barred from entering the locker rooms at the UIC or having any contact with the victims.
Dalesandro's attorney, Marc Davidson, noted that Dalesandro hadn't shared the video with anyone.
"This was, I believe, a prank," Davidson said. "It may be at tasteless one, but it was a prank that went nowhere."
Dalesandro, Carlson said, was taken into custody by UIC Police on Thursday and unlocked his phone for investigators. He also signed a statement admitting that he had twice climbed the lockers of the men's locker room and propped his camera in a gap between the wall and ceiling, Carlson said.
Around 11 a.m. that day, Dalesandro admitted he pointed the camera into the locker room and recorded about three minutes of footage, showing the two other women's swimmers changing out of their street clothes and into their swimsuits, Carlson said. After retrieving the camera, Dalesandro edited the video down to about 60 seconds, just showing the two women undressing, Carlson said.
Two hours later, Dalesandro climbed the lockers again and planted his phone, leaving it to record for 45 minutes until the second pair of swimmers noticed the camera.
UIC officials provided police with a list of people who had access to the locker room during the time period, and Dalesandro was one of five men who were in the building, Carlson said.
A spokesman for the UIC athletic department declined to comment on disciplinary action by the university against Dalesandro, citing privacy laws. "The athletic department has been aware there has been an investigation and is fully cooperating with the university police and will continue to do so," spokesman Dan Yopchick said Friday.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.