Ken­nett busi­ness­man charged in tap­ing case dies

Olen Grimes, 54, of New Lon­don ap­par­ently died of a heart at­tack

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Michael P. Rel­la­han mrel­la­han@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @Ch­escoCourtNews on Twit­ter

The well-liked Ken­nett Square busi­ness­man who ex­pe­ri­enced a tidal wave of good­will af­ter a de­bil­i­tat­ing au­to­mo­bile ac­ci­dent last year only to find him­self charged with video­tap­ing two young girls show­er­ing in a mo­tel bath­room has died.

Sources said Olen Grimes, 54, of New Lon­don, ap­par­ently suc­cumbed to a heart at­tack on Mon­day while work­ing at his home in New Lon­don, where he had been placed on house ar­rest last month await­ing trial on charges of sex­ual abuse of chil­dren — the of­fense as­so­ci­ated with cre­at­ing child pornog­ra­phy — in­va­sion of pri­vacy, and en­dan­ger­ing the wel­fare of chil­dren.

The death was an­nounced Thurs­day morn­ing at a meet­ing of the Ro­tary Club of Long­wood, of which Grimes — an art and fram­ing store owner — was a mem­ber, by club Pres­i­dent Ti­mothy F. Rayne. The pres­i­dent said he had been told of the death by Grimes’ wife, Rox­anne.

Peter Kratsa, the crim­i­nal de­fense at­tor­ney from the West Ch­ester law firm of MacEl­ree Har­vey who was rep­re­sent­ing Grimes in the crim­i­nal case, said the cause of death was “ap­par­ent nat­u­ral causes.” He praised his client for his stead­fast­ness un­der the pres­sure of the charges he faced.

“I was struck by Olen’s un­wa­ver­ing cheer­ful­ness, op­ti­mism, and love for his wife de­spite the stress he was un­der dur­ing the time I knew him,” Kratsa said Thurs­day in an email.

A spokes­woman for the Ch­ester County Coro­ner’s Of­fice said that an au­topsy was be­ing con­ducted be­cause Grimes’ death oc­curred out­side of a hospi­tal or hos­pice, but that the cause of death is pend­ing. A tox­i­col­ogy re­port must be com­pleted, which should take at least four weeks, the woman said.

Deputy District At­tor­ney Deb­o­rah Ryan, the head of the DA’s Child Abuse Unit who was pros­e­cut­ing the case against Grimes, said that her of­fice had been no­ti­fied of Grimes death, but that it would wait un­til a death cer­tifi­cate is is­sued be­fore ask­ing Com­mon Pleas Judge Wil­liam P. Ma­hon, who had been as­signed Grimes’ case, to dis­miss the charges.

Grimes is the owner of two Ken­nett Square busi­nesses, Art­works Fine Arts and Crafts, and My Pol­ished Salon, both lo­cated on South Union Street.

Ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed against Grimes by Ch­ester County De­tec­tive Os­car Rosado, the case against Grimes be­gan in Novem­ber when he asked a friend to pick up a video cam­era for him that was in a fil­ing cabi­net at the Art­works shop.

Grimes could not re­trieve it him­self be­cause he was un­able to drive be­cause of in­juries he suf­fered in the car crash on Nov. 11, 2015, on Bal­ti­more Pike at McFar­lan Road in Ken­nett Town­ship. The col­li­sion was so vi­o­lent, he was trapped in the car and had to be ex­tracted. His legs were crushed. He had been walk­ing with the aid of a cane.

Af­ter his car ac­ci­dent, his fel­low mem­bers of the Ro­tary Club set up a sched­ule where Ro­tar­i­ans staffed the shop in three-hour shifts to en­sure it stays open. And other Ro­tar­i­ans ar­ranged to take food to him at his rehab ses­sions ev­ery day.

There was also a Go Fund Me campaign for Grimes to help he and his wife get through the cri­sis. More than $3,500 was raised.

The friend, iden­ti­fied as An­drew White, picked the cam­era up and kept it in his car un­til just be­fore Christ­mas. He told Rosado that when he played the video on the cam­era, he saw im­ages of Grimes hid­ing an­other cam­era in a bath­room, and then

of two young girls tak­ing show­ers at dif­fer­ent times.

White told Rosado he made a copy of the video and then gave the cam­era to Grimes at his home. Soon af­ter leav­ing, he be­gan get­ting texts mes­sages from Grimes that re­ferred to the video. “Not me, I swear it,” one stated. “I loaned the cam­era to one of the girls. I can’t even use the damn thing. This is the truth. It was a teenager …”

White turned his copy of the video over to the Ken­nett Square po­lice in April.

Rosado said that the video was viewed by county De­tec­tive Joseph Wal­ton, a mem­ber of the of­fice’s Com­puter Foren­sic Unit. On it, he saw Grimes hide a video recorder in­side a bath­room, cov­er­ing it with tow­els. His voice can be heard telling the girls to take a shower. One by one, the two girls, who were not iden­ti­fied in the com­plaint, en­ter the bath­room, take off their clothes, shower, and get dressed. Their naked bod­ies can be seen on the video.

Grimes is then seen com­ing into the room and col­lect­ing the video cam­era and turn­ing it off, ac­cord­ing to Rosado’s af­fi­davit.

The two girls, who were 13 or 14 at the time the video was recorded, later told Rosado that they were un­aware that they were be­ing filmed, and had not given Grimes per­mis­sion to do so.

Grimes had been re­leased on bail af­ter waiv­ing a pre­lim­i­nary hear­ing in Au­gust. But Ma­hon or­dered him con­fined to house ar­rest last month af­ter Ryan raised con­cerns that he had vi­o­lated his bail con­di­tions by con­tact­ing one of the two girls on social me­dia, and had con­tact with mi­nors at his home, which he had been or­dered not to do.

Fu­neral ar­range­ments are through the Kuzo & Grieco Fu­neral Hone in Ken­nett Square.

Olen Grimes

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