NEWS- Man of conviction: Ex-pastor gets 60 days in taped peeping

A counselor and former pastor whom one witness described as "too compassionate" was convicted September 19 on two counts of surreptitiously videotaping women undressing in his home and sentenced to 60 days in jail.

Gregory Briehl's July 18 arrest for child porn possession and illegal videotaping rocked the the Peace Lutheran Church community. The charges followed his resignation from the church for "crossing professional boundaries as a pastor in a relationship of inappropriate intimacy with more than one woman," according to Pastor John Herman.

Briehl videotaped women changing clothes, typically while dressing to get in a hot tub at his home. A handheld video camera covered by towels was on a bathroom sink countertop in one of Briehl's two residences, according to testimony by Albemarle police Detective Charles Marshall, who executed five search warrants in May after Briehl's wife found one of the cameras.

Eventually Briehl purchased a more sophisticated camera that was hidden in a clock radio in the bathroom, Marshall said.

Briehl admitted that he'd also filmed guests in the bathroom from an outside deck, and at least once from a tree, starting in the mid 1990s, according to Marshall, but he told the police he'd been peeping since he was 14 years old. 

"Still photos don't excite him," Marshal saidl. "He likes movement, videos."

Six defense witnesses testified in Albemarle General District Court to Briehl's compassion, his skill as a counselor, and his remorse for his voyeurism and betrayal of friends and family. 

But while Briehl was ministering to his flock, "He did not give in the same way to his family," said his wife, Kim Briehl. "What's on trial here is not Greg's counseling skills... There have been very deliberate choices. Greg has lived his entire married life with deception." 

Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Darby Lowe emphasized Briehl's videotaping women at their most vulnerable, and asked for consequences for that betrayal and for invading their privacy while in his home. "He's been aware of his proclivity for voyeurism since he was 14," she said.

Briehl, 53, pleaded no contest "so the victims didn't have to come in and testify," said defense attorney Rhonda Quagliana. And she submitted to the court a letter of apology from Briehl.

It was not enough to convince Judge Robert Downer to let Briehl off with Quagliana's requested six months suspended sentence for the Class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to a year in jail.

In fact, Briehl's stature as a trusted figure in the community was a factor Downer considered in sentencing. "Peeping and voyeurism and that type of behavior are difficult to resolve," said Downer. "You can't really make restitution when privacy is compromised– when they went to a dear and trusted friend. The damage is real." 

Downer sentenced Briehl to 300 days on each count, with 270 days suspended on condition of good behavior for two years and continued counseling.

Briehl still faces 20 counts of possession of child pornography. 

Greg Briehl was the go-to guy for Christians seeking counseling, and former clients testified in his behalf at his September 19 voyeur-cam trial.



The story about Mr Briehl is going on 2 years. He paid for his crime of voyeurism. Let it go.
The justice system has been "ciminally" slow and the fact that his case has been continued so many times and the prosecutor "forgot" to supenea his witnesses for the last hearing is bazaar. The whole thing stinks.
This man had his reputation ruined by the press - what happened to innocent until proven guilty?
He lost his family - his wife wouldn't let him see his boys for over a year and even now only at her whim. This cannot possibly be good for his sons or a Christ-like act. He lost his home and money - his wife has it all. He lost his marriage. He lost his ordination and his church has told him there is no redemption for a fallen pastor. I am sure glad Jesus isn't like that. God is all about restoration and redemption.
The church he does attend has not allowed him to take communion. Come on folks! What is that about? That is a travesty and says more about that church then about Mr Briehl.
When is enough enough? When has the price been paid?
Mr Briehl has done as much as he can to make restitution and ask for forgiveness. Those who say he is not sorry or repentant enough have not talked to him nor do they know him. He has been deeply broken by his actions and the pain he caused his family, parishoners and community.
It is time to let the man begin to build his life.

There are two sides to every story and I suggest attending the trial before making hasty judgments about Mr Briehls sad state of affairs.

The information, as quoted above is incorrect and very biased. His reputation was already shot when he hid cameras in his house and illegally taped both personal friends and congregation members from his church changing clothes in a room where they thought they were safe.

The second upcoming trial is about possession of child pornograpy and has nothing to do with the earlier charges. If you have been truely following this case, you will remember an article in the local paper where Mr. Briehl admitted he liked to look at pictures of teenage girls to a detective working on the case.

Your pity and prayers would be better served for his victims and family and for any future victims of this sick individual who has accepted no responsibility for his actions and feels like he has done nothing wrong.

Personally, I have been so affected by the betrayal of trust that I placed in Greg as a Christian Counselor, a Lutheran Pasor, and as someone whom I viewed as a brother and a close friend, that I cannot even fully get past it. However, I have learned a great lesson. Listen to your guts! If something or someone seems to be too good to be true, you are not seeing the whole person. Plus, I have learned that inappropriate sexually oriented comments and jokes are NEVER appropriate in any setting. Listen your guts and don't trust anyone based simply upon their professional degrees, their community standing, their profession, or anything other than what you see and hear and know in your gut. When someone, such as Greg, who is in a psositon such as a pastor or as a couselor, a position that immediately engenders trust, who makes a mockery of that trust--is actually mocking God. I believe this is why the entire matter came to light. Greg's actions were not only sick but slick. This is why so many folks are having difficulty with this case. Every act was deliberate, Greg is not a "victim" but a victomizer of those who trusted him. These were deliberate, planned, and executed actions of deceit and fraud and all to satisfy himself. The saddest part of the tale is the fact that Greg Briehl was THE counselor who counseled other counselors how to counsel their clients who were enmeshed in adultery, deceit, and narcissism. Yes, he was excellent at it. However, the saddest part is the reason for his skill and knowledge in these areas. He knows the ins and the outs of adultery, deceit, voyerism, and narcissism first-hand. The positions of counselor and pastor immediately engenders trust and that usually is in women who are in a vulnerable place in their lives. This was really a (preditorial, deliberate, well-thought-out) excellent career move and why I have lost all respect for him. It has nothing to do with forgiveness or couseling skills. This has to do with betrayal, deceit, fraud, malpractice, and abuse of power and trust.

The prosecutors wife said that Greg liked looking at teenage girls. I have news for you... all men like looking at teenage girls including your husband. Pornography is about fantasy. Greg also had the courage to admit his sins to the police when he did not have to. For this he is skewered. Now wonder none of us guys confess to this terrible struggle because of how society and especially the church responds. It is time to let this guy try to rebuild what is left of his family and life. Let it go people!

Choices were made on both sides... adultery takes 2 to dance u know. Both sides have guilt on that. To hear the original story, there were many more accused but 3 cases of actual?? All I say, is let the legal system do their job and let the church get back to business.... boy for this man to do so much damage at a place for to year's? Who did the research. I am sorry for the family, especially the children and any young parishioners he hurt, but come on forgiveness is the basis of christianity- last I checked the lutheran church took pride in that distinguishment>