Man accused of recording, touching kids at Sugar Land hospital pleads guilty for public lewdness

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A Houston man accused of recording and touching children at a Sugar Land hospital pleaded guilty to two counts of public lewdness.

Ray Chatman, 48, was charged with "invasive visual recording" and was sentenced to 212 days in jail following the August 2016 incident, but was given credit for those days and released.

According to Sugar Land Police, the two girls are 8 and 11. A police spokesperson says they were in the waiting area of the emergency room at Sugar Land Methodist Hospital when Chatman approached and began singing to them.

Investigators say the children asked Chatman to leave, but he refused. According to police, the girls then saw the man taking photos of their buttocks and breasts. Authorities say the girls told them that he groped both of them.

"I don't have any remembrance of me trying to exploit any kids, or do any kind of harm to any children," said Chatman, during an exclusive interview from jail.

He claims he was at the hospital seeking help. Earlier this month he wrote a letter to a judge -- claiming the incident at the hospital occurred just after he had been released from a psychiatric hospital.

He stated he was not in his "right, sound mind", was despondent over his brother's suicide, and that he had been out of his medications for at least 10 days.

"I wasn't in my right state of collaborative mind at the time and that's why I'm writing to the judge because I have no recollection of what was going on at the time," Chatman said.

Chatman is no stranger to the law. Eyewitness News has learned he's a registered sex offender who served 18 months in Louisiana for indecency with an 8-year-old girl. His criminal history in Harris County includes two indecent exposure convictions.

This time though, he insists it's different. "I was asking for help," he said.

Sugar Land police say surveillance cameras at the hospital caught the interaction between Chatman and the girls, and shows them pulling away from him.

Because of the angle, police say, it's difficult to see if he touched them as the girls allege.

Sugar Land Methodist Hospital refused comment for our initial report in September 2016.

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