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New Braunfels PD charges suspect with invasive visual recording

Juan Matos-Cartagena was SA's first arrest under new law

NEW BRAUNFELS, TexasJuan Matos-Cartagena, 59, San Antonio’s first man arrested under a new invasive visual recording law, now faces the same charge in New Braunfels, both under similar circumstances.

The incidents allegedly occurred at facilities for seniors; however, the victims were all employees, not residents. Also, each allegedly involved a pen camera placed in women’s bathrooms, the latest in the lobby of Kirkwood Manor, a skilled nursing facility in New Braunfels.

New Braunfels police spokesman David Ferguson said the San Antonio Police Department investigation led to the suspect being arrested at his San Antonio home on Tuesday by the U.S. Marshals Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

”Because SAPD had already identified a suspect, we had a suspect already identified,” Ferguson said.

Matos-Cartagena’s initial arrest in March came after employees at the Patriot Heights senior living facility in the 5000 block of Fawn Meadow found a pen camera hidden in a potted plant facing the toilet. Police said at least three female staff members were victims.

Another two women in their 50s, employed at Kirkwood Manor, were recorded using a bathroom adjacent to the lobby. When they were told what police had found, Ferguson said the latest victims had the expected reaction.

“I think anybody who find themselves in that situation, I think would be shocked and appalled that had happened,” Ferguson said.

A statement from Kirkwood Manor points out the facility did not hire Matos-Cartagena:

"Kirkwood Manor did not employ Mr. Matos-Cartagena at any time for any service. Mr. Matos-Cartagena was employed with a company under contract to Kirkwood Manor to provide rehab therapy. When Kirkwood Manor was notified by authorities that Mr. Matos-Cartagena was in possession of photographs illegally obtained in our facility, we took immediate measures to ensure the ongoing safety and dignity of our patients and staff. We are continuing to stay in communication with authorities and will continue to contribute to any ongoing investigation of the matter."

In its statement, Reliant Rehabilitation said the suspect was a part-time therapist who had passed background screening as well as meeting ongoing licensing requirements:

"As a partner to all of our skilled facility clients, Reliant Rehabilitation screens all treating therapists, both full and part-time, through a rigorous background screening process. Mr. Matos-Cartagena was a part-time therapist at the time of the incident and had passed Reliant Rehabilitation’s background screening, as well as ongoing annual licensure requirements. Nonetheless, when Reliant Rehabilitation receives reports of a full-time or part-time therapist conducting inappropriate activities with patients or in our client facilities, Reliant Rehabilitation responds aggressively on behalf of and with our client facilities and the investigating authorities. The therapist in question was immediately placed on administrative leave upon notice of the incident to Reliant Rehabilitation pending the outcome of the investigation by the appropriate authorities."

Matos-Cartagena was booked into the Comal County Jail under a $10,000 bond. Invasive recording is a state jail felony with a two-year penalty.

Ferguson said with the abundance of video cameras these days, he urges the public to be very aware of their surroundings.