Grand jury indicts alleged “peeping Tom” in Athens
ATHENS, Ohio (WTAP) - A Jackson County, Ohio, man accused of being a “peeping Tom” was indicted on a dozen felony and misdemeanor charges on Monday, the Athens County prosecuting attorney’s office said.
Trea Benedict, 22, is accused of seven felonies - the most-serious of which is engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity - and five misdemeanors.
Bendict, who is being held in the Southeastern Ohio Regional Jail pending a court appearance on Wednesday, was arrested by Athens County sheriff’s deputies in August after fingerprints matching his were found outside home a home on North High Street in Athens, Prosecuting Attorney Keller Blackburn’s office said.
In a news release, Blackburn’s office said video and photographs of a man loitering near a home in the North High Street area were posted and shared on multiple social-media accounts in June. The man also removed security cameras from the premises.
Subsequent posts online by the Athens Police Department regarding the suspect were shared more than 500 times.
Also in early June, Blackburn’s office said residents of a home on North High Street reported hearing and seeing someone around their home. They reported evidence of forced entry and a a camera flash from outside a window on at least one occasion. The incidents continued through July until Benedict was arrested in August.
Benedict denied being in Athens, but Blackburn’s office said tracking information from his cellphone indicated otherwise. In addition, investigators found photos of at least one North High Street residence on his Benedict’s phone.
Meanwhile, according to Monday’s indictment, Benedict has a criminal history of voyeurism and menacing by stalking as a teenager. In 2018, he was convicted of attempted burglary in Lorain County after following a woman home and trying to gain entry to her home with sexual intentions. He is currently on probation for that charge.
“No one should have to fear for their own safety in our community, not the least of which includes their own home,” Blackburn said. “These are very serious allegations and we are pleased that the residents of North High Street can have some peace of mind now.”
In addition to being indicted on a charge of engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, a first-degree felony, Benedict also faces felony counts of burglary, attempted burglary, tampering with evidence and menacing by stalking. He faces misdemeanor counts of petty theft and voyeurism.
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