General Crime

Blogger Michael Petrelis Pleads No Contest To Misdemeanor For Allegedly Photographing City Supervisor In Bathroom

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A blogger who snapped a photo of San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener in a City Hall bathroom last October pleaded no contest today to a misdemeanor disorderly conduct charge and was sentenced to three years’ probation. Michael Petrelis, a gay rights activist who authors the blog “The Petrelis Files,” entered the plea this afternoon. The charge stemmed from an incident in which he photographed Wiener as the supervisor stood at a sink in a second-floor bathroom at City Hall on Oct. 26. Petrelis, who posted the photo on his blog the next day, has clashed with Wiener over various pieces of legislation, including his ban on public nudity. Petrelis addressed San Francisco Superior Court Judge Samuel Feng during today’s hearing. “I recognize my mistake and it’ll never happen again,” he said.

However, he accused Wiener of “misusing his power” by pursuing criminal charges against him and said he had “serious doubts the complaint would’ve resulted in charges” had it not involved an elected official. He said he looks forward to “blogging fully again” and “voting for the opponent of this official when he comes up for re-election.” Along with the three-year probation term and various fines and fees, the judge also issued a complicated stay-away order that Petrelis said was a sticking point in resolving the case. The blogger will be required to stay 150 feet away from Wiener except on the second floor of City Hall, where he cannot be within 30 feet of him. Petrelis is also banned from using any bathrooms on the second floor of City Hall and entering Wiener’s office, but can attend all legislative hearings held in the building. Petrelis came to court wearing a surgical mask over his mouth, saying he had gotten sick after previous trips to the Hall of Justice. He said outside of court that he is “satisfied with this settlement” and is looking forward to attending meetings at City Hall again. Wiener declined to comment on the case this afternoon.

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