A Mississippi coast man found guilty of indecent exposure earlier this month was taken into custody again Monday, now facing a charge of 1st-degree voyeurism for reportedly photographing a minor in an “intimate area.”
Richard Hightower, 53, was arrested at his Moss Point, Miss., home after investigators executed a search warrant there. Hightower waived his right to an extradition hearing and was brought back to Mobile, where he was formally charged and remained in Mobile Metro Jail as of Tuesday afternoon, held without bond pending a Wednesday hearing.
Earlier this month, a Mobile County judge found Hightower guilty of indecent exposure stemming from an April incident in which he exposed his genitalia to students at the University of South Alabama. He was sentenced to serve four months in jail and one year of probation.
Hightower spent one night in jail and was released pending an appeal, court records show. Hightower had twice previously been convicted of misdemeanor indecent exposure, and the third incident could have resulted in a felony charge, but prosecutors opted to only prosecute him under the misdemeanor charge.
Subsequent to that conviction, the Mobile County District Attorney’s Office became aware of the voyeurism accusation.
Court records indicate Hightower was found guilty of exposing himself to a female student through a dorm room window at Samford University in 2008. He was sentenced to a year in jail, although records are not clear on how much of that sentence he served.
Then, in 2010, Hightower entered a guilty plea in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court to indecent exposure and criminal trespassing stemming from a 2007 incident in which he approached a female on the University of Alabama campus, tried to pull up her skirt and then hit her before fleeing the scene.
Court records also show Hightower was twice charged with sexual abuse and once with attempted sexual abuse in Alabama, as well as public lewdness, but the disposition of those cases was not immediately clear.
“Due to his previous felony convictions in Mississippi, Richard Hightower is a habitual offender,” said Mobile District Attorney Keith Blackwood in a release, “and we will fully prosecute the alleged criminal acts.”
Blackwood did not elaborate on the nature of Hightower’s previous felony convictions in Mississippi.
Anyone with information on Richard Hightower, particularly anyone who believes they have been victimized by Hightower, is asked to contact the district attorney’s chief investigator, Don Gomien, at 251-574-6681 or via email at [email protected]