The Suffolk County District Attorney’s office dropped the charge against a Dix Hills man accused of taking cellphone photos of an 8-year-old boy using the bathroom in a North Babylon restaurant in May.
The Suffolk district attorney’s office said in a press release that a forensic examination of defendant Luis Flores Jr.’s cellphone by the Suffolk County Police Department’s Computer Crimes Unit did not yield any images from the restaurant bathroom where the crime allegedly occurred, nor was there any other probative evidence found on Flores’s phone.
An examination of the facts found the version of events articulated by the victim and his father contained fundamental inconsistencies with the events recorded by the restaurant’s in-house video security system.
At Wednesday’s court appearance, Assistant District Attorney John Cortes, in dismissing the charge, explained that a review of the Hibachi Grill surveillance video did not support accounts of the boy or his father of the alleged crime, including the number of men in the restroom when the alleged crime occurred, and specifically the father’s claim – disproven by the security video – that no one else was in the bathroom with his son when he left him.
The restaurant video showed when the boy’s father exited the bathroom, there were at least four other males present, including Flores.
One man exited the restroom about 10 seconds after the father left, and Flores left about 15 seconds later. Two other unidentified males left the restroom less than a minute after Flores’ exit.
Before the alleged victim’s father returned to the bathroom – about four minutes after initially leaving his son in the restroom -- another two unidentified adult males entered and exited the bathroom, the DA’s office said.
The surveillance video shows Flores standing around the bathroom area using his cellphone after exiting the bathroom.
The father of the alleged victim told police that when he went to retrieve his son, the defendant was “loitering” outside the bathroom playing with his phone and that Flores looked as if he was going to return to the bathroom, but left after making eye contact with him.
A forensic analysis of the defendant’s phone by Computer Crimes analysts revealed the defendant was exchanging text messages with his female dining companion who had visited the women’s restroom as they were leaving the restaurant.
When his son reported to him that he saw a hand holding a smartphone reaching over the stall door and the phone made clicking noises as well as emitting a flash, the father alerted restaurant staff and later reviewed the restaurant’s surveillance footage and identified Flores. The boy did not see the defendant’s face, and was unable to identify a specific phone that was used.
A Suffolk police spokesman had no comment on the charges being dropped.