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A judge has denied military diversion for the Cal Poly ROTC chair who used a hidden camera to film multiple women at the Recreation Center and in local fitting rooms. 

The defense for Lt. Col. Jacob Sweatland, 40, requested the military diversion treatment program in an April court hearing, arguing that Sweatland’s mental health issues led him to film the women, Mustang News confirmed with SLO’s Chief Deputy District Attorney Jerret Gran. 

The Military Diversion Program is an opportunity for veterans or current service members to receive treatment and services instead of going to trial. If the court deems the program successful for the defendant, the court would then dismiss the charges. According to state legislation, this program could be offered when a defendant is “suffering from sexual trauma, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or mental health problems as a result of his or her military service.”

Sweatland was first arrested in September on suspicion of placing a video camera disguised as a key fob in a PacSun dressing room, where a 16-year-old girl found his camera and reported him to Pismo Beach Police. Documents from the DA’s office state that Sweatland is seen on video “strategically placing the camera on the floor of the dressing room,” in addition to having footage of two other female customers.

The defense’s motion requesting military diversion outlines the several avenues for mental health treatment that Sweatland has undergone since his arrest, including regular therapy sessions. The prosecution maintained that Sweatland “would not be sufficiently rehabilitated given the underlying allegations.”

“The calculated and covert method in which Defendant repeatedly targeted vulnerable young women demonstrates little potential for rehabilitation in the Military Diversion Program,” the motion filed by the prosecution on April 10 stated. 

Sweatland also had videos of women exercising at the Cal Poly Rec Center, filming “from covert angles” showing “the women’s backsides as they perform various exercises wearing shorts and tight fitting athletic wear,” according to court documents. This contradicts what the university told Mustang News in February — which was that “no criminal activity connected with this case is alleged to have happened on the university’s campus.” 

University spokesperson Matt Lazier said Pismo Beach Police didn’t notify Cal Poly until Feb. 17 — one day after Mustang News published the article — that the videos were taken in the Rec Center, as they initially were only aware that they were taken in a gym environment.

Cal Poly Police found that the videos didn’t constitute criminal activity because they were recorded in public areas, and the Cal Poly Civil Rights and Compliance Office will determine whether the videos violate Title IX or other policies, Lazier said. If found to be a violation and individuals in the video can be identified, the university would contact them.

Sweatland, who has since been removed from his U.S. Army posting at Cal Poly, will have his next hearing on May 8 to set a date for his trial.

This article was updated on April 27 to include additional details from Cal Poly regarding videos filmed in the Recreation Center.