Crime

Lakewood schoolteacher charged with voyeurism

Michael Crouch
Michael Crouch Courtesy

A Clover Park School District teacher pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges he peeped into women’s bedroom windows.

Pierce County prosecutors charged Michael Crouch, 33, with seven counts of voyeurism and two counts of stalking. He was released on his own recognizance after being arraigned.

Records show Crouch teaches at Hudtloff Middle School in Lakewood, which let out of school Tuesday. He has not been placed on leave because classes are over for summer break.

It’s unclear whether he was placed on administrative leave after his arrest.

“District officials just learned of his arrest and are following district protocols to investigate the matter further,” spokeswoman Kimberly Prentice said in an email.

“Student and staff safety is a top priority across the district. School is not currently in session and Mr. Crouch is not scheduled to be in school over the summer.”

She declined further comment, citing the ongoing investigation.

None of his alleged crimes involved Clover Park students.

Crouch is accused of peering into women’s windows in North Tacoma in incidents dating back to May 2015, the first known time a woman called 911 about a peeping Tom.

Detectives were able to identify Crouch in June after an incident where a witness spotted him fleeing in a Subaru Outback later traced to him.

He peeped into the same woman’s window at least eight times, according to charging papers.

She called 911 every time but spotted him up close for the first time in March, when she was returning from the laundry room in her apartment building.

He allegedly ran when she screamed and called police.

The woman again called 911 June 10 after her roommate caught Crouch hiding in the bushes and looking in the window, records show.

After identifying Crouch as a suspect, Tacoma police realized he was tied to two other voyeurism complaints, one of which took place near the University of Puget Sound campus.

Crouch agreed to speak with detectives and initially acted confused about the allegations, saying two girls recently accused him of following them but he believed they were mistaken.

“He said he didn’t know if he looked in a window or not, but he didn’t do it intentionally,” prosecutors wrote in charging documents.

He later admitted to voyeurism, saying he didn’t intend to hurt anyone but he understood why women might be afraid.

“I don't want to do it anymore. I don’t think it’s right,” Crouch allegedly told police. “I obviously tried to hide from it because I don’t think it’s right. I can understand why they’re afraid.”

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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