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article imageRestauranteur gets 90 days in prison for secret bathroom camera

By Caroline Leopold     Jul 17, 2015 in Crime
A former Maryland restaurant executive pleaded guilty Thursday to recording videos of patrons in the bathroom, and was sentenced to 90 days in prison.
Former owner of a popular Maryland restaurant chain was given a partially suspended two-year sentence after admitting to videotaping women in the bathroom of Ram's Head Tavern in Savage.
On Thursday, Kyle Muehlhauser, 37, pleaded guilty to two counts of visual surveillance with prurient intent. He will serve 90 days in jail if he does not violate any of the conditions of his release. The lighter sentence was part of a plea agreement.
The details of the charges emerged during the sentencing hearing of Muehlhauser in Howard County District Court. The man admitted that he secretly videotaped women using the toilet at the family owned chain's restaurant in Savage. The secret surveillance occurred over a three-year period, said prosecutors, according to the Baltimore Sun.
The Ram's Head Group owns a chain of seven Maryland restaurants and entertainment venues, including one on the water at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. This successful venture had been founded by Muehlhauser's father, Bill, in 1989 and had handed over the reins to his son.
The father made a statement when charges came to light in March that he would return from semi-retirement and his son would take a "long-term leave of absence."
The man's secret videotaping halted when a woman found the hidden camera in the restaurant's bathroom. The woman was having lunch restaurant and was using the bathroom bathrooms, when she heard something drop to the floor.
The woman saw an object that appeared to be a recording device and brought it to the police station.
A detective who examined the device believed that it had been attached underneath the sink in the single-occupancy bathroom using Velcro, according to the state prosecutor. The camera, which pointed toward the toilet, had recorded a man affixing the device to the sink and six women using the bathroom.
Investigators later identified the man who had been recorded attaching the secret recording device as being Meuhlhauser. Authorities said they also found DNA on the camera and matched it to the tavern owner.
Meuhlhauser's plea is one among other high-profile voyeurism cases in Maryland.
Rabbi Barry Freundel, who taught at Towson University before resigning in February, pleaded guilty to 52 counts of voyeurism and was sentenced to six-and-a-half years in jail. He had been charged with videotaping women preparing for a Jewish ritual bath.
Dr. Nikita Levy, an obstetrician/gynecologist with Johns Hopkins Community Physicians, was accused of secretly photographing or filming patients in his office. Levy killed himself during an investigation.
In Maryland and many other states, voyeurism is a misdemeanor. Some states carry heavier penalties when the victim is a minor or when they are recorded or photographed, according to research by the National District Attorneys Association.
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