The president of the Rams Head Group will take a long-term leave of absence as he faces criminal charges and civil litigation alleging that he secretly filmed women in the restroom of the Rams Head Tavern in Savage, the company said Wednesday.
Kyle Muehlhauser, 37, is due in court in Howard County next month to answer the criminal charges. His father, company founder Bill Muehlhauser, said Wednesday he would come out of semi-retirement to oversee the business. Vice President Erin McNaboe will replace Kyle Muehlhauser as president. Director of Operations Mike Lechner will become vice president.
Founded in 1989, the Rams Head Group has grown from a 30-seat restaurant in Annapolis to a chain with restaurants and entertainment venues around Maryland.
Kyle Muehlhauser said last week he would step into an "administrator-oriented" role, rather than an on-site, operational role. But his father said Wednesday that Kyle would immediately leave the business "to focus on himself, his family and the legal road ahead."
"I am extremely confident these moves will keep the Rams Head family united, growth-oriented and focused on delivering the trusted experience our customers and partners expect, with clarity," Bill Muehlhauser said in a statement.
Howard County police said last month that they found a camera with footage of six women using the restroom at the restaurant in Savage. Police said they began their investigation in May, after a patron reported that the device fell on the floor next to her.
Muehlhauser is charged with visual surveillance with prurient intent and "peeping Tom" violations.
Muehlhauser's attorney in the criminal case, Jason Shapiro, said Wednesday he would not comment on the charges.
"I don't want to try the case in the press," Shapiro said. "I want to try it in the courtroom."
Muehlhauser also faces a civil lawsuit over the alleged recording.
Michelle Mia Castle says she was a frequent customer of the restaurant and believes she was recorded. She filed a lawsuit seeking $3 million in punitive damages this week in Howard County Circuit Court.
Castle's attorney, Clarke F. Ahlers, said Wednesday that the leadership change at the Rams Head Group came "too late."
Bill Muehlhauser said his son "is entitled to due process and a chance to be heard."
"However," he said in his statement, "the time to be heard will be through the appropriate legal channels, not through a few of the distorted news accounts or opportunist attorneys."
Ahlers said he filed the lawsuit because "several women who are upset and harmed have asked me to champion their cause."
"I'm neither opportunistic or shy," he said. "I also agree that the place for Kyle to explain himself and for the corporation to make amends is the courtroom."