After a judge deemed an initial plea deal inadequate, a Lovell man who set up a camera to record his female coworkers in the bathroom agreed to serve not only two to four years in prison but also …
After a judge deemed an initial plea deal inadequate, a Lovell man who set up a camera to record his female coworkers in the bathroom agreed to serve not only two to four years in prison but also four years of supervised probation.
“I do know that I screwed up very, very badly. And I’m very sorry for that,” Scott Abraham said at a June 11 sentencing hearing in Park County District Court.
Abraham, 50, specifically apologized for the damage that had been done to the four women caught on the camera he set up in 2018 and 2019.
“It was never my intention to harm in any way, shape or form. And I hope that they can go get on with their lives and allow me to get on with my life and ensure that none of us has anything like this happen again,” Abraham said. “And we can grow, we can get through this and be better.”
However, District Court Judge Bill Simpson said the crime is the kind of thing that’s difficult to overcome.
The women in this case “have decided that they will do the best they can to pick up the pieces of their lives after what’s happened, but make no mistake: They will continue to deal with this aftermath, I’m sure, for the remainder of their lives,” Simpson said.
The women spoke at length during a May hearing, also conducted by teleconference, in which they detailed how their lives had been changed since the camera was discovered in their Powell workplace’s bathroom. They had asked the judge to reject the two- to four-year prison sentence recommended by the prosecution and defense and instead impose the maximum sentence, which, for the four counts of voyeurism, would have amounted to four to eight years in prison. The women also said they intend to work with lawmakers to toughen the penalties for this type of voyeurism, which is not classified as a sex crime.
After hearing the victims’ concerns, Judge Simpson rejected the plea deal last month, saying he wanted the sentence to also include four years of supervised probation;, he said supervision is critical in sexual cases like these.
Deputy Park County Prosecuting Attorney Saige Smith said that while Abraham won’t have to register as a sex offender, “he will be subject to many of the terms that sex offenders would be subject to” whenever he’s released on parole.
Smith had no objection to the additional probation; suggested by Simpson — though she expressed some procedural concerns about the judge recommending a specific sentence rather than simply sending plea negotiations back to the drawing board.
“I just fear that the defendant may come back before the end of his sentence and appeal on the basis that there was a new plea agreement that there was no time to consider,” Smith said.
However, both Abraham and his defense attorney, Craig Abraham of Gillette, assured the judge they had no intention of appealing.
Craig Abraham, who is the defendant’s cousin, said the victims were entitled to their anger and feelings of betrayal, and that what happened “was just not right,” but he did seek to clarify a couple points about the case.
For instance, he faulted the media’s reporting on the number of images that Scott Abraham may have captured of the women.
Powell Police Investigator Chris Wallace wrote in charging documents that he extracted more than 102,500 images from a couple of Abraham’s memory cards, while giving no indication as to how many were relevant to the investigation; that information was noted in the Tribune’s initial story.
Craig said “the underlying presumption [from the number of images] is that Scott had all of these images of all kinds of bad things and that simply is not the truth.” Craig said “there were some compromising photos that were captured … but there was not the massive quantity that the press made it look like.” Abraham testified last month that he had used the camera for innocuous purposes as well.
Craig also said Scott Abraham never saw any of the images captured by the camera, because it was discovered and seized before he could retrieve it.
However, one of the women, identified in the proceedings as Victim 3, specifically refuted that point.
Although the camera wasn’t discovered until June 2019, the woman said some of the compromising images from the bathroom were “undoubtedly” captured in August 2018, because she was six months pregnant at the time. Plus, she said, the earlier photos show that the camera was in “an entirely different location” in the bathroom than where it was found 10 months later.
“For months and actually years, I noticed the cabinet was consistently moving in the women’s restroom. It happened every Monday and I always assumed it was another woman in the office,” Victim 3 said, but she now knows that “none of the women were moving the cabinet.”
In addition to the prison and probation, Abraham must pay hundreds of dollars in fees and assessment, plus an as-yet-to-be determined amount of restitution to the victims to cover counseling they have already and will continue to receive.
Abraham told the court that the shame and damage to his reputation from the case was “far more significant than I ever imagined.”
Craig Abraham said the incident touched the entire family “and that has tripled the punishment on Scott, if you will.”
“The time Scott [Abraham] spends in prison, the time Scott spent on probation are going to pale in comparison to the anguish that he’s caused himself and more specifically his family,” he said.
Simpson noted that the victims’ families had been touched by the crime as well.
“The ramifications as to what’s happened here today touches many people,” the judge said, “and unfortunately all in a very negative way.”
Shortly after the June 11 hearing concluded, Abraham checked himself into the Park County Detention Center to begin his sentence. He remained there Monday, awaiting transport to the Wyoming Department of Corrections.