A former equipment manager for the University of Texas will now serve four years in state prison and three years probation for taking inappropriate photos and videos of nude student-athletes.
The final punishment came Thursday for Rene Zamora, 33, who in a state district trial in March was tried on one of the 11 cases against him and given six concurrent sentences of two years in prison for multiple counts of improper photography or visual recording. He had been awaiting additional punishment since he pleaded guilty in September to 19 more counts of the same charge in six of the other cases.
Inside the courtroom Thursday, his father, who shed tears when he took the stand in defense of his son, declined comment. Zamora’s defense lawyer, Richard Segura, said he believed the judge had granted his client reasonable punishment given the years of confinement Zamora had been facing.
“I do understand there was a deprivation of people’s privacy and that the girls were emotionally harmed,” he said. But given the fact that credit for good time is given at a different rate in the state prison system, Zamora “might spend more time incarcerated for taking photographs than somebody for a violent offense.”
Assistant District Attorney Amy Meredith said she was satisfied with the resolution. The victims “can at last move on from the criminal justice process and start to heal from what he did to them,” she said.
Court records show that Zamora first came under investigation in September 2010 when one of the women caught him filming her while she was showering in the locker room. She reported the incident, and campus police searched his home, seizing his computer.
He was eventually charged with secretly taping 11 members of the women’s track and cross-country teams over almost three years as they showered and dressed in their locker room at the track and soccer fieldhouse on campus. But prosecutors tried him on only one case in March.
Evidence from three of the cases was considered in the six plea agreements he accepted, prosecutors said. One case was dropped.
In a sentencing hearing Thursday, Zamora’s voice broke several times as he apologized for filming the women, many of whom had been teenagers at the time, and said he never disseminated the photographs. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t think about it,” he said, crying.
In their statements to Zamora after his sentencing, four athletes told him he had been a trusted member of the team and had been deeply hurt by his betrayal. “You watched us put our hearts on that track, and you saw us break,” one of them said, shedding tears. “I hope that one day we both are able to move on.”