Example of a bathroom stall, not the one posted in the story. Photo via http://cleverlittlecrafts.com/

A Sherman Oaks restaurateur accused of hiding a small video camera in the women’s restroom of the “friendly atmosphere” eatery pleaded not guilty Friday to misdemeanor invasion of privacy and other charges.

Bahram Javaherian, 65, who co-owns Cucina Bene in the 4500 block of Sepulveda Boulevard just south of Ventura Boulevard, is charged with one count of invasion of privacy by using a device to view the interior of a bathroom and 11 counts of unlawfully filming persons in a partial state of undress in a bathroom, according to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.

“Friendly atmosphere!” proclaims the restaurant website. “To us, our guests are like family, and we treat each one just the way we’d like to be treated — with open arms, warm smiles and delicious food.”

A pretrial hearing is set for July 11 at the Van Nuys courthouse.

Javaherian was arrested May 9 by Los Angeles police and was released early the next morning, according to jail records.

Los Angeles police said previously that they began investigating Javaherian, who has owned the eatery for 11 years, when a restaurant employee found a camera affixed under the sink in the women’s restroom and gave it to police.

A civil lawsuit was filed May 30 against Javaherian and the restaurant’s co-owner, Abe E. Siani, as well as their eatery, on behalf of two patrons.

Nadereh Adeli and Remick Shaverdi Sapien allege invasion of privacy, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and a violation of the state Civil Code. Siani and the restaurant are named only in the negligence claim, which alleges both were liable for not properly supervising Javaherian.

The lawsuit describes Adeli and Sapien as “good friends” who dined at the restaurant at least four times between November and April, using the women’s restroom during each visit. On at least one occasion, Adeli, “in addition to using the facilities, undressed completely to change into another outfit,” the lawsuit says.

Both women had a legally protected privacy interest when using the restroom at the Cucina Bene, according to their lawsuit.

–City News Service

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