Man who recorded women in Burge bathrooms violates probation, authorities find videos on phone

He recorded women, had other downloaded footage, complaint states

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CORALVILLE — A Coralville man who pleaded guilty last year to charges related to breaking into and entering University of Iowa dorm rooms and recording women in the showers was found with more videos on his phone, a violation of his probation, authorities said.

According to a Department of Corrections criminal complaint, on Oct. 19, Robert Hightower, 25, violated his probation by unlocking his cellphone, which had been confiscated. Authorities said they discovered four videos on Hightower’s phone that he recorded.

One of the videos depicted a woman riding on the bus, two videos were taken of women at Walmart and the fourth video was taken of a woman through the drive-through window where Hightower works.

“There are also 8 download (sic) videos off the internet showing naked women,” the complaint states. “Most of the videos contain footage of hidden cameras in bathrooms capturing naked women.”

Hightower was booked at the Johnson County Jail on Thursday evening, according to jail records.

Last October, Hightower pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree burglary and three counts of invasion of privacy. Additional charges of second-degree burglary and assault on persons in certain occupations were dismissed as part of a plea deal. According to court records, Hightower was given a 10-year suspended prison sentence on the burglary charge and three one-year suspended jail sentences on the invasion of privacy charges. He was also placed on probation for three years and was registered as a sex offender.

University of Iowa police said Hightower entered the women’s restrooms in Burge Residence Hall three times — on Feb. 12, 13 and 15 in 2016 — and each time recorded a woman showering. Hightower was caught in the act the third time he entered the bathrooms.

Hightower entered a dorm room sometime on late Feb. 14 or early Feb. 15 and stole a bathroom key, police said. On Feb. 15, he entered a women’s bathroom and recorded a woman while she showered, police said. Hightower fled when confronted by the woman.

Hightower was arrested on warrants for peeping and trespass in a separate incident by Coralville police on Feb. 16. University of Iowa police brought him to their station for questioning in the Feb. 15 investigation.

During an interview, Hightower admitted to recording two women with his cellphone as they showered, police said. He also told police he committed two burglaries in Burge by going into two different dorm rooms and stealing bathroom keys.

Court records show Hightower also violated his probation in December 2016 when he twice allowed his GPS tracking device to shut down instead of charging it.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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