Ottawa On the same day he was to go on trial, a Lawrence man decided to plead no contest to charges he covertly videotaped five women in the bathroom of an Ottawa restaurant.
Darrin A. Votaw, 32, entered pleas Tuesday to five of 14 counts of eavesdropping. The remaining counts were dismissed, and the pleas were accepted in Franklin County District Court by Senior Judge Robert Jones.
A 15th count was dismissed because the victim was out of town and unable to make it to the trial, Assistant County Atty. Brandon Jones said.
"Obviously, Darrin felt it was in his best interest to plea as the state did to meet us on a plea," Votaw's attorney, Tim Riling of Lawrence, said.
Votaw was arrested in February after an investigation by Ottawa Police led to the recovery of a videotape of women in the restroom at G. Willikers Bar and Deli, 306 Main in Ottawa. At the time, Votaw was one of the owners of the business.
Police took a search warrant to the bar where they arrested Votaw and found a hidden video camera in the women's bathroom.
During earlier hearings, Kyla Rutter, a former girlfriend of Votaw's, testified she found the unmarked videotape inside a VCR at Votaw's home and gave the tape to police.
Several of the videotaped women worked at the restaurant at the time.
Jones, a retired Johnson County judge brought in to handle the case, set sentencing for 8:30 a.m. Tuesday. Eavesdropping is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and a fine up to $2,500.
Votaw has been free on bond since he was charged.