Army officer at Cal Poly accused of spying on girls in dressing rooms

February 6, 2023

Lt.Col. Jacob Sweatland


An Army  lieutenant colonel assigned as the head of the Cal Poly ROTC unit faces criminal charges after a preteen girl found a spy camera in a dressing room at a store in Pismo Beach. The girl thought it was a key fob that had been dropped in the dressing room.

But a closer examination showed it was a video camera.

Lt.Col. Jacob Sweatland, who did not identify himself as an Army officer, called the store several times asking if someone had found his “key fob.” Pismo Beach Police had opened an investigation after a review of the camera’s contents showed photos from changing rooms in multiple stores.

The store clerk, working with the police, told the man on a later call that the fob had been found and that he could come in and pick it up.

When Lt.Col. Sweatland walked into the store, he noticed officers and fled on foot. It took about 20 minutes for officers to track him down. They arrested him on charges of resisting arrest and for invasion of privacy by recording in a dressing room, both crimes are misdemeanors.

The arrest raises questions about Lt.Col. Sweatland’s future Army service. He had been a fast-rising officer in the Army. In 2007, the 24-year-old Sweatland, a  first lieutenant, represented the 25th Infantry Division, stationed in Hawaii, in the “Best Ranger Competition.” It was not immediately clear if Sweatland was or is an actual member of the elite Army Rangers.

Promoted to major, Sweatland graduated from the Naval War College Monterey in the top 15 percent of his class. A few years later, Sweatland was promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel. Promotion to major and  lieutenant colonel made Sweatland a field-grade officer, a senior military officer.

National security protocols can remove anyone’s security clearances in the event the person is seen as being at risk of being compromised because of vulnerabilities from personal conduct that violates the law or puts him in a position of needing money.

Because of current laws in California, Sweatland could be eligible for misdemeanor diversion, meaning he could divert his sentence for one year. During that time he would need to abide by all laws and complete community service requirements.

After successful completion of the diversion program, his cases would be dismissed and the arrest upon which the diversion program was imposed will be deemed to have never occurred.

Lt.Col. Sweatland is the chair of the Military Science and Leadership Department at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. He mentors young men and women who sign contracts to serve in the Army in return for financial support during college.

Following his arrest,  Lt.Col. Sweatland, 39, took leave from his assignment at Cal Poly, though he technically remains the department chair, an officer who identified herself as Major Roberts said.

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Bye Bye prestigious career. Hello yearly birthday check in at the Registered Sex Offender office and and stand out on Google search.

Another black eye on the University of Cal Poly. The darkness just keeps coming.

CalCoastNews scoops again. There is no mention of this in the SLO(W) Tribune. And regarding the freak show Atascadero teacher with creepy hostile Facebook who was accused of inappropriately touching students—CCN got the word out on January 31. The SLO(W) Tribune was more than a week late trying to play catch-up on that one. When it comes to getting the word out in our community about what is important, what we need to know, it is always CalCoastNews leading the charge! Thank Karen Velie and the whole CCN team.

…And why I support CCN Monthly. You actually get to hear the Truth!

When I first moved here in the late 90’s, I bought a Subcrip to that other paper. I soon became privy to details of a case involving the parent of my son’s friend. The “Other paper” reported without even bothering to interview him to find the facts. How do you claim to know enough to write an article without even asking those involved?? I quickly cancelled, realizing nothing I read there was valid. Since then it was more that obvious how sided and slided. more of just a Rag, and paper for the bird cage.

The SLO Fibune isn’t worth the paper that it is printed on.

These types are everywhere.

Sick bastard!