‘Harm and horror' of secret bathroom recordings brings jail for Wyoming man

Man sentenced for hidden towel hook camera

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - A Wyoming man who lost his wife to a hit-and-run driver earlier this year was sentenced Thursday to probation and jail for using a hidden towel hook camera to secretly record two tenants in the bathroom.

A contrite Benjamin Otis Crawford apologized for his behavior and asked the judge if he could perform community service in lieu of jail.

“No,’’ Kent County Circuit Court Judge Dennis Leiber responded.  “The harm and the horror require incarceration.’’

Leiber sentenced Crawford to three months in the Kent County Jail and placed him on probation for three years.

“While I understand and appreciate the effect of the tragic loss of your wife in January of this year, those events happened well after you installed a camera surreptitiously in a bathroom to capture the images of two women who were tenants in your home,’’ the judge said.

Crawford, 31, apologized and said he is making steps to improve himself.

“I’m very sorry for everything I’ve done,’’ he told the court. “The last six months have really changed who I am and I’m taking steps to better myself physically, mentally and spiritually.’’

Crawford admitted to putting the towel hook camera in the bathroom of his home on Glenvale Drive SW in September, 2016. He told investigators he used his desktop computer to view images and videos that were recorded of the two women.

He was already under investigation by Wyoming police when his wife, 26-year-old Chelsea Crawford, was struck and killed by a snow plow driver as she walked along 52nd Street SW in Wyoming.

The driver of the pickup truck, 21-year-old Austin Hill, did not stop. He was arrested a day after the Jan. 10 accident. Hill pleaded no contest to failure to stop at the scene of an accident when at fault, resulting in death. He was sentenced in May to serve between 5 and 15 years in prison.

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