KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In 2019, a woman named Beth was shopping at the Nordstrom Rack in Lenexa with a friend who “came into my dressing room and said, 'I believe there’s someone taking video of me.'”
They quickly switched places, and Beth started recording some video of her own.
Jonathan Falen, the man captured taking pictures and video in that dressing room, pleaded guilty in July to felony breach of privacy. He was sentenced on Wednesday to 18 months of probation, a mandatory sex-offender evaluation and required to follow any recommendations that come from it.
“I think given the guidelines in Kansas, it’s an appropriate sentence," Assistant District Attorney Kendall Kaut told KSHB 41 News. "He’ll have to get a sex-offender evaluation and as was mentioned at the hearing today, he’s held accountable for what he’s done. Now the community knows what he’s done.”
Court documents state that Falen faced three counts of breach of privacy in connection with two incidents that occurred on March 27 and April 14.
His actions prompted Beth and other women to push for change in state law regarding peeping cases.
Jason Covington, a former assistant district attorney who worked on the case, shared why.
“I had several cases where we went to trial and we won," said Covington, now a shareholder at Jones, McCoy and Covington. "The person was convicted, but we still had to go through this whole process to see if we could get them on the registry, which is separate and apart from the criminal findings."
In February 2020, Senate Bill 420 was introduced into a Kansas Senate committee. The bill would force people convicted in peeping cases, who use cameras to see through or under someone's clothing while in a state of undress or while nude, and those who disseminate those images, to register as a sex offender. People like Falen.
“It went to the Senate floor. It passed unanimously," Beth said. "It was amazing to see. Then it went on to the House and then COVID hit and it got pushed back and pushed back. Eventually, it died on the house floor."
Now, the women are reaching back out to state lawmakers in search of sponsors to bring SB 420 back. Beth is sharing this message for other women in the community.
“If there are other victims, you have an army of women behind you, supporting you, that want to see justice,” she said.