Update (May 15, 2017)– Justin Behnke was sentenced to 2,700 days of probation, or 7.4 years. 1,620 days are suspended and he received 140 days of jail credit. He’ll have a total of 940 days on probation, or about two and a half years.
MARTINSVILLE, Ind. (March 30, 2016)– Police say the former general manager of a Chili’s restaurant in Martinsville admitted to recording women in the bathroom of the establishment.
On February 26, Justin Behnke turned himself in after being charged with voyeurism. In that case, he’s accused of recording women in his home using a hidden camera.
As the Hendricks County Sheriff’s Office investigated that case, they received information Behnke may have recorded women elsewhere.
The Martinsville Police Department was informed of the investigation and the sheriff’s office said Behnke may have placed a video recording device in the women’s bathroom of the Chili’s restaurant located at 620 Birk Road.
“He looked into that area without their knowledge or consent,” said Bob Cline, Morgan County deputy prosecutor.
Officers went to the restaurant and met with Behnke. He allowed officers to search his car and his phone. A flash drive was found in the car.
Officers checked the women’s bathroom and found no recording devices at that time.
He went to the police station with officers to discuss the allegations. During the interview, police say Behnke admitted to placing a motion-activated video camera in the women’s bathroom between March and August of 2015. The camera was placed in vents above the toilets.
“For every woman, your privacy is very important to you and you expect a high level of privacy when you use the restroom,” said customer Penny Finney.
He claimed none of the videos were shared online, and none contained children.
Court documents say he later made a second full confession to another detective.
Detectives seized several items from his home, including a desktop computer, a security recorder, an SD card and a USB data storage device. Videos from the hidden camera were discovered.
Police identified eight victims. The victims are all adults and have spoken with police about the case.
Behnke was charged Wednesday with 15 counts of voyeurism in connection with the Chili’s case. Each felony count carries a potential 2.5 year sentence. He faces two counts of voyeurism in the case involving his home.
The owners of the Martinsville Chili’s restaurant issued this statement:
We are disturbed and saddened after hearing police reports confirming that a former employee secretly hid a recording device in the ladies restroom at our Chili’s in Martinsville. We have and will continue to work closely with the Martinsville Police Department to fully support their investigation. Our team members and our guests are our number one concern, and to that end, we confirmed again with the police that they performed a thorough search of our ladies restroom on February 22 and found no recording devices. We hope this does not overshadow the hard work of our Chili’s team members who take care of our guests every day, and we remain committed to providing an enjoyable and safe environment for both our guests and team members in Martinsville.