A 32-year-old South Lake Tahoe man pleaded guilty Tuesday to unlawful contact with a minor, admitting he used a cell phone to record images of two boys urinating in a men's bathroom at a Stateline casino.
Jason Kyle Helton faces up to one year in Douglas County Jail and a $2,000 fine at his sentencing Nov. 1.
"I was trying to take pictures of men urinating," Helton told District Judge Dave Gamble. "I am not a pedophile."
The incident occurred June 16 in a men's bathroom near the Wallace Theaters in the Horizon Casino Resort.
Helton said he was in a stall next to the urinals.
"I couldn't see who was on the other side," he said. "I was fiddling with the phone camera getting their backs only. There were no genitals ever involved. There were not very clear pictures."
Helton said he realized he was photographing children when the boy grabbed his brother and they rushed out of the bathroom.
According to the police report, the boys told their mother who contacted security. They stopped Helton for questioning, but he fled the casino and left the area on a stand-up scooter with a bright yellow engine.
He was arrested at the end of July after a story appeared in the Tahoe Daily Tribune.
The brothers are 11 and 14.
"Do you think these actions caused these boys to feel terrorized and violated?" Gamble asked.
Helton answered yes and admitted he did not delete the images when he realized the pictures were of children.
His lawyer, Tod Young, said Helton hoped to complete an in-patient treatment program for alcohol abuse.
He was released from Douglas County Jail on his own recognizance.
Terms of Helton's plea agreement with the District Attorney's office include restitution for any expenses incurred by the victims. He is eligible for probation.
Originally he was charged with unlawful use of a minor child in pornography, a Class A felony.
Helton is forbidden to have contact with anyone under the age of 18.