Crime

Former Wise County deputy charged with sex crimes for the second time

Chad Alan Hightower was charged with online solicitation of a minor.
Chad Alan Hightower was charged with online solicitation of a minor. Denton County jail

A former Wise County deputy was charged with sex crimes Wednesday for the second time in less than four years.

Chad Alan Hightower was charged with trying to have sex with minors, according to the Denton County Sheriff’s Department.

Hightower was arrested as part of a Joint Online Solicitation Operation with other agencies, the sheriff’s office said in a news release. Investigators participated in undercover online chats to communicate with people who were trying to have sex with youths under the age of 17.

Twelve other men were arrested as part of the sting.

In January 2016, Hightower was found guilty of taking nude photographs of sex offenders and sentenced to 16 months in prison.

Hightower, who had served as the contact for convicted sex offenders in Wise County, took naked photographs of two of them from November 2013 until July 2014, federal agents said.

Hightower resigned from the Wise County Sheriff’s Department in September 2014.

Convicted sex offenders who lived in Wise County had to register with Hightower in November 2013, according to federal court documents describing the case.

In 2013 and 2014, Hightower convinced two men that the law required him to take nude photos of them due to a change to the state’s sex offender registry law. This was not true.

At his hearing in 2016, Hightower called his actions “bad judgment.”

“If I could go back in time and change what I did, I would,” he said at the time.

On Wednesday, Hightower posted a $25,000 bond and was released from Denton County Jail.

Domingo Ramirez Jr. and Nichole Manna contributed to this report.

The Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force was developed federally in 1998 as the number of children and teenagers using the internet increased and child sexual abuse images became available electronically, authorities say.

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Kaley Johnson is a breaking news and enterprise reporter. She majored in investigative reporting at the University of Missouri-Columbia and has a passion for bringing readers in-depth, complex stories that will impact their lives. Send your tips via email or Twitter.
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