UNF student speaks out about video voyeurism

Kylie Selvage

Graphic by Sam Chaney

UNF student Josh Portillo was thrown into a whirlwind of disconcertion and betrayal when he was reportedly pulled aside by the University Police Department earlier this month and informed that his peer, who he thought was a victim, had allegedly videotaped him without his permission.

“I was working at graduation, and a UPD sergeant asked if he could speak with me out in the hallway,” Portillo said. “Honestly, I thought I was in trouble.”

Portillo said it had been four months since he heard anything about the voyeurism and extortion charges against Jesse Martinez. He told Spinnaker that he is reportedly one of the students who was taped on a hidden camera, leaving him both shocked and disappointed.

Their acquaintanceship, according to Portillo, started back in March when Martinez reached out to Portillo for help. Portillo was an area council student leader at the time and says that Martinez confided in him about allegedly being bullied by his roommates. This, Portillo said, led him to perceive Martinez as a victim.

“From what he said to me, it really seemed like his roommates were being jerks,” Portillo said. “I told him if there was anything he needed help with, that we would help.”

As a huge anti-bullying advocate, Portillo said he offered to walk Martinez through the process of coping, and even just offered him a friend to talk to. He now says he would have never guessed the situation would escalate this far.

“At the end of the day, I’m just disappointed,” Portillo said. “I’m disappointed that I got lied to. I’m disappointed that someone asked for my help and, in turn, I was basically helping out a criminal without knowing. I got manipulated out of the goodness of my heart.”

Despite his emotions, however, he says he expresses nothing but hope.

“I just hope that in 20 or 30 or however many years it takes for him to get out of prison, that he uses his own experience to fight against those who may make the same choices he has,” Portillo said. “Even those people who have gone through trauma, and end up doing or going through terrible things, can turn a negative situation into a positive one.”

And that is exactly what Portillo is doing. He says he is speaking out about his own experience in the hopes that other students will have the courage to follow his lead. He also says he wants all his fellow students to know that UNF offers several resources for victims of bullying, sexual abuse, depression and many other issues.

“My whole message is to please be aware of your mental wellness, please be aware of your surroundings, and if you are going through anything, please, talk to someone,” he affirmed.

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