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Man who peeped in Burge bathrooms to be sentenced

Robert Hightower pleaded guilty to invasion of privacy, burglary charges this month

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IOWA CITY — A Coralville man accused of breaking into University of Iowa dorm rooms and recording women as they showered has pleaded guilty to several of the charges against him.

According to court documents filed earlier this month, Robert L. Hightower, 24, has entered guilty pleas to one count of second-degree burglary and three counts of invasion of privacy. A second count of second-degree burglary and one count of assault on persons in certain occupations were dismissed, records show.

UI police said Hightower, who was not a student or affiliated with the university, entered women’s’ restrooms in Burge Residence Hall three times — on Feb. 12, 13 and 15 — and each time recorded a woman showering. Hightower was caught in the act during his third foray into the bathrooms.

Police said Hightower entered a Burge dorm room sometime late Feb. 14 or early Feb. 15 and stole a bathroom key.

He returned Feb. 15, entered a woman’s bathroom and recorded a woman while she showered, police said. The victim confronted Hightower and he ran.

That night, while taking a report on the earlier incident, a UI police officer was told of suspicious activity in a women’s restroom. The officer found Hightower hiding inside, but he escaped after a struggle.

Hightower was arrested on warrants for peeping and trespass in a separate incident from Coralville police on Feb. 16. UI 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.

Second-degree burglary is a Class C felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison. Each count of invasion of privacy is a serious misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail.

Assistant Johnson County Attorney Anne Lahey said no agreement has been reached between the state and Hightower’s defense on sentencing. Each side will make recommendations for his sentence and a judge will rule.

Hightower’s sentencing hearing is Nov. 28.

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