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Sentencing continues for Lorain County man who hid camera in bathroom

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 9:48 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 19, 2021 at 1:55 PM EST
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LORAIN COUNTY, Ohio (WOIO) - A Henrietta Township man was scheduled to be sentenced Friday after he pleaded guilty to pandering obscenity, illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, and voyeurism for hiding a camera inside the bathroom of his home; however, it was continued until Dec. 15.

Lorain County Sheriff deputies arrested Paul Churchill in Feb. 2020.

Churchill was filming people on a camera hidden in a device that looked like it was just a regular AC charger, but it was actually a hidden camera device with an SD card in it.

A then 19-year-old relative, who was staying in the State Route 511 home with Churchill and his wife, found the camera and turned it into Lorain County Sheriff deputies.

Deputies searched Churchill’s phone and other electronics and found hundreds of saved files, including photos of friends, relatives, and children.

Churchill’s sentencing was delayed after his attorney explained that Churchill had an expectation that part of his guilty plea included a sentencing recommendation of community control, no jail time, that was likely to be followed by Judge Chris Cook.

The judge disputed that and had gone back over the plea records to clear up the confusion.

“On two occasions during the plea conversation I had with Mr. Churchill, I made it clear, twice, I do not guarantee or promise a sentence,” the judge said.

Churchill’s attorney made the case that his client seemed to believe that since the state had recommended community control that the judge would likely agree and hand down a sentence that did not include jail time.

At one point the judge said that he was leaning, despite the prosecution’s recommendations, towards sending Churchill to jail.

This led Churchill to inform his attorney that he was considering withdrawing the guilty plea but in response, the judge indicated that he did not believe that Churchill had any legal standing to withdraw the plea.

Judge Cook, however, in a nod to fairness said he would delay sentencing to make sure all arguments were heard before he sentenced Churchill.

Churchill just ended a six month stay in prison in Erie County on similar charges.

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