Join our brand new verified AMN Telegram channel and get important news uncensored!

Army ROTC instructor hid camera in changing room at clothing store

A gavel. (TNS/Released)
January 30, 2024

Lt. Col. Jacob Sweatland, former leader and senior instructor of California Polytechnic State University’s ROTC program, recently received a formal reprimand in his court martial.

Sweatland was arrested in Pismo Beach, Calif., after a teenage girl reported finding a spy camera resembling a key fob in the changing room of a PacSun store. Sweatland called the store a few days after the report, stating that he had left his keys behind. When he returned to the store to retrieve his keys, however, he left without retrieving his fob due to police activity.

He was later arrested at his home on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest and invasion of privacy. Two additional misdemeanor charges for filming a person in a state of undress without consent or knowledge were added at a later date. 

During his civil arraignment, Sweatland pleaded not guilty to all charges. Sweatland then applied for military diversion in civil court, a motion that was denied by San Luis Obispo (SLO) Superior Court Judge Jesse Marino. Sweatland’s attorney argued that his client suffered from mental health issues while citing his military career, which includes tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. 

According to CalCoastNews, prior to Sweatland’s civil trial, prosecutors motioned to drop all civil charges, citing the belief that military judicial codes would allow for greater punishments.

READ MORE: JROTC cadet designs map of Summit View Cemetery to honor veterans

“In 2023, California law has very limited criminal sanctions available for someone charged with the crimes Mr. Sweatland committed,” said District Attorney Dan Dow. “We have confidence that the U.S. Army will obtain an appropriate resolution that appropriately addresses the significance of harm caused by his actions.”

At the time of his indictment, Sweatland was relieved of his ROTC duties and barred from campus. According to, Sweatland pleaded guilty to hiding the camera in the changing room during his court-martial. If convicted of all charges, he faced a possible sentence of dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay, and up to 15 years of detainment in military prison. 

In May of last year, CA AB1380 was introduced into legislation. The bill would modify existing laws to include images taken without the consent of the subject to be charged as offenses under the state’s existing disorderly conduct law. If passed, penalties upon conviction would include up to one year of jail and monetary fines ranging from $2,000 to $10,000.