An Airbnb host's son secretly filmed a guest in the shower, then tried to blackmail her into sending him a sex video: prosecutors

The shadow of a hand holding a key in front of a group of Airbnb logos.
The 51-year-old man was sentenced to prison time for stalking a former guest in his mother's Airbnb.Anadolu/Getty Images
  • A man living in his mother's Airbnb home secretly filmed a guest naked and then tried to blackmail her, prosecutors allege.

  • Kevin Strutz of Ceres, California, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to over 3 years in prison.

  • Prosecutors say Strutz admitted to hiding a cell phone camera in a basket on the bathroom counter.

The son of an Airbnb host was sentenced to prison in connection to allegations that he secretly filmed a guest in the shower and tried to blackmail her into sending him an explicit video.

Kevin Strutz, a 51-year-old man from Ceres, California, pleaded guilty to two counts of cyberstalking earlier this year, according to the US Attorney's office for the Eastern District of California.

Prosecutors alleged that in 2020, Strutz began cyberstalking a young woman after she rented out a room in Strutz's mother's Ceres home through Airbnb. Strutz and his mother were also living in the home at the time, the complaint says.

The woman, a traveling occupational therapist who isn't named in the court filings, had been staying at the home for about a month when she discovered an unnerving message addressed to her.

She found the message — which talked about how "sexy" she was — on a cell phone in the shared bathroom, according to the criminal complaint.

She contacted Airbnb and immediately found another place to stay.

After she left, she got sexually explicit messages on Facebook from two accounts linked to Strutz, who she says she barely interacted with at the home, according to the complaint. The woman called local police and again told Airbnb what happened.

At the time, Airbnb said in a statement that it was working with the FBI over the allegations.

"We have no tolerance for the reported behavior and worked quickly to support the survivor once she brought it to our attention, including banning the associated host accounts from our platform at the time," the company told CBS News.

The graphic messages continued for several months until Strutz sent her a nude image of herself from when she showered in the Airbnb bathroom, prosecutors allege. He threatened to send the photo to all of her contacts unless she sent a video of herself masturbating, Strutz admitted in his plea agreement.

She then blocked both of Strutz's accounts and followed up again with the police, prosecutors said in the complaint, adding that she never responded to Strutz's messages.

Strutz admitted he filmed the guest using a cell phone he had hidden in a basket on the bathroom counter, prosecutors allege in the complaint.

Strutz's conviction on two counts of stalking also related to a 2018 incident in which he left 15 handwritten letters on a separate victim's car — in addition to phone calls and Facebook messages from five different accounts — that included threats trying to coerce her into having sex with him, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of California.

Last week, Strutz was sentenced to three years and four months in prison, along with three years of supervised release and a small fine.

Prior to the conviction, Strutz already had a lengthy rap sheet including stalking, burglary, robbery, and assault with a deadly weapon, among others, prosecutors said in the criminal complaint.

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