Mississippi man charged with making explicit images of 9-year-old at Mobile County church

New accusations arose after judge found Richard Hightower guilty of flashing at college
Man accused of recording a 9-year-old facing more charges
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 5:47 PM CST
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MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - A Mississippi man convicted last month of exposing himself at the University of South Alabama in April now faces more serious allegations.

The Mobile County District Attorney’s Office alleges Richard Hightower, 53, of Moss Point, made recordings of a 9-year-old girl he was giving piano lessons to at a Mobile County church.

“My chief investigator and his team, along with our partner agencies, investigated the allegation, and we were able to obtain an arrest warrant for this allegation that he filmed or took photographs of the intimate areas of a child,” District Attorney Keith Blackwood said.

Hightower was being held Tuesday at Mobile County Metro Jail on a charge of first-degree voyeurism.

A judge found Hightower guilty last month at a non-jury trial of indecent exposure related to the incident at the University of South Alabama. He imposed a one-year split sentence, with four months behind bars and the rest suspended.

Hightower was allowed to remain free on bail while he appeals the misdemeanor conviction. He has previous indecent exposures from Tuscaloosa and Jefferson counties related to incidents at the University of Alabama and Samford University. Those convictions should have triggered a felony charge when University of South Alabama officers arrested him in April.

But Blackwood told FOX10 News earlier this month that his office missed those convictions.

Now, Hightower not only faces a Class C felony charge but the possibility of a stiffer sentence because of 1994 felony convictions in Mississippi for burglary and voyeurism. That makes the punishment range 10 years to life in prison if he is convicted of the latest charge.

The alleged incident occurred in July. That was after the incident at South Alabama but before his conviction.

“This is someone that he had contact with, we think on a regular basis at a location that he was at, we believe on a regular basis,” he said. “So this was not just some random person that came out of the woodwork after this happened. This was someone known to him.”

Blackwood said he believes there may be other victims and urged people to call his chief investigator, Don Gomien. at 251-574-6681 if they have any information. People also can email him at dongomien@mobileda.org.