TX Cop Arrested for Allegedly Forcing Sex Offender to Pose for Nude Photos

According to allegations cited by Wise County Messenger, Sergeant Chad Alan Hightower of the Wise County Sheriff’s Department has been placed under arrest on charges of improper photography after it was discovered that the officer tricked a sex offender into posing for nude photographs by convincing him that doing so was a condition of his placement on the sex offender registry, required by state law. Following the officer’s arrest, he posted bond, which was set at $25,000, and was released. Hightower had recently made arrangements to retire from the force and remains on leave from work until his retirement becomes official on September 30.

Hightower’s arrest warrant accuses him of forcing a male sex offender to pose for nude photos on two separate occasions. The alleged victim, who was released from prison in June of this year, reported to Hightower on June 17 in order to file his paperwork for the sex offender registry. On that date, the victim claims that Hightower ordered him to take off his clothes and pose for several nude photos taken from different angles. According to the arrest warrant cited by Wise County Messenger, “Deputy Hightower represented this as a change in the sex offender registration required by the state.”

The victim returned a month later to update his file on the sex offender registry, at which time Hightower told him that his nude photos had to be retaken, claiming that the first round of photos had been rendered useless by a glare. Hightower then drove the alleged victim to the county’s impound lot to take more pictures. No other officers were present at that location, leaving the two alone. Hightower locked the gate to the impound lot on the way in, had the victim undress, and took additional nude photos.

Then, according to the arrest warrant, “After a short time, Deputy Hightower reportedly advised [the victim] he believed the next thing the State was going to require was photographs of a sex offender’s erect penis. Deputy Hightower asked [the victim] if he could obtain an erection for him, so that the needed photographs could be taken and [the victim] would not have to return in the future for them.” Though the convicted sex offender refused that request, he was asked to do so multiple times before he was allowed to put on his clothes.

The victim, feeling something was amiss, then reported his experience to District Attorney Investigator Jack McGuinn. The victim explained to authorities that he did not want to consent to posing for the photos but believed that he had no choice, because Hightower, a police officer, told him he was required to by state law. McGuinn quizzed him on details about the impound office that only someone who had been inside would know, which the victim provided. An investigation into surveillance video from the lobby of the sheriff’s office confirmed many of the details alleged by the victim. Texas Ranger Ron Pettigrew, who arrested Hightower, obtained the SD card from his camera and, with the help of a data recovery specialist, found the nude photos of the victim, which had been deleted.

However, the victim in question may not have been the only one. “Pettigrew noted on the above-mentioned media there are several more nude males that appear to be in the same bathroom [the victim] described, others are in the county impound office and yet more in what appears to be a residence.”

Wise County Sheriff David Walker told Wise County Messenger, “It’s a shock and a sad day for all of us, especially me, because I have worked with Chad my entire law enforcement career.”