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Indiana Church Pastor Accused Of Mounting Cameras In Restroom

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Robert Lyzenga

Indiana church pastor Robert Lyzenga is charged with mounting cameras inside decoy air fresheners in the women’s restroom at his church. (Credit: Tippecanoe County, Ind., Sheriff’s Office)

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LAFAYETTE, Ind. (CBS) — A church in Indiana has removed its pastor, after he was arrested for allegedly disguising two hidden video cameras as air fresheners and hiding them in the women’s toilet stalls at the church.

Robert Lyzenga, 55, is charged with felony voyeurism, after the cameras were found at Sunrise Christian Reform Church, at 909 E. County Road 500 South in Lafayette, Ind. – about 100 miles southeast of Chicago.

The Lafayette Journal & Courier reports Lyzenga, who had been pastor since 2002, was arrested on Thursday of last week. He was released on $5,000 bond after a couple of hours in the Tippecanoe County, Ind., Jail, the newspaper reported.

The Smoking Gun released a police affidavit detailing the allegations against Lyzenga.

The affidavit says it all started last month, when a woman was using the restroom and saw that an air freshener had fallen off the door. The back of the air freshener had come off, and the woman noticed there was a camera inside, the affidavit said.

The woman found there was also a camera in a decoy air freshener in the neighboring stall. The third stall had an air freshener too, but no camera inside, the affidavit said.

Tippecanoe County Sheriff’s police detectives downloaded the memory cards from the cameras, and found that they had captured two adult women and a juvenile girl using the restroom.

One of the memory cards also showed what appeared to be an office area, after which it looked like the camera was being placed inside some kind of container. The video went dark as the audio seemed to indicate someone walking with the camera, and eventually the camera came back on in the toilet stall and showed the juvenile girl, the affidavit said.

Police came to the church last week to identify the office area of the video, and Lyzenga offered to “look around the church to see if there were any areas that matched up” with what appeared in the video clip, the affidavit said. But once detectives made their way to Lyzenga’s own office, they quickly figured out that it was the same office that had appeared in the video, with the same Superman mouse pad, pencil cup and other items.

Police also determined that the air fresheners were not real. They were plastic rectangular boxes that had been modified to hold cameras, and outfitted with “Glade Air-o-matic” stickers that appeared to be computer-printed, the affidavit said.

Church elder Mark DeYoung, who has known Lyzenga since 2002, told the Journal & Courier he was “devastated, distraught, amazed, confused and disappointed” by the pastor’s arrests and the allegations against him.

He told the newspaper that Lyzenga had been a “trusted, highly regarded man within the congregation.”

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