Mother confronts alleged peeping Tom in court

January 13, 2011 3:40:18 PM PST
Authorities are calling him a serial a peeping Tom. On Thursday, Lincoln Moreno appeared in court admitting to sneaking into a women's restroom, and looking into the stall where a young girl was inside. That young girl's mother was able to confront him in court. Technically, it was a misdemeanor, but it did a lot of damage to that little girl and her mother, who did more than get mad -- she fought back through the legal system.

Moreno, 59, was arrested for spying on the four-year-old girl three months ago in the women's restroom at a Meyerland restaurant. Moreno was in court on Thursday on the criminal trespass charge. In a quiet voice, he pleaded guilty. But that was only the beginning.

"The morning I encountered you in that restroom, my life, as well as my daughter's life, was changed forever," said Tracey Gabel to Moreno during her victim's impact statement.

Gabel is the mother of the young girl who saw Moreno's face peering up beneath a bathroom stall. Gabel saw him, as well, and ran for help. Employees and customers held him for police.

She would later learn he had been arrested for the same thing at least two dozen times and was released from jail each time.

"You are a serial offender," said Gabel. "The things you've done to children are reprehensible."

On Thursday, she delivered her victim impact statement on what is technically a misdemeanor crime. Moreno never acknowledged her. After he was led out of court, he was arrested on two felony charges -- indecency with a child and aggravated sexual assault of a child involving other alleged children.

"If it wasn't for those charges to be filed today, in less than one week, Lincoln Moreno would've walked out of county jail," said Houston crime victims advocate Andy Kahan.

Moreno remains in jail for now and Gabel says she can tell her four-year-old daughter that for them, today was a good day.

She says she doesn't plan to explain to her daughter all that went on. She says she'll save that for when her daughter is older.

Meanwhile, Gabel is also talking with legislators, trying to deal with habitual misdemeanor offenders.