Former Wise Co. deputy sentenced for taking nude photos of sex offenders

FORT WORTH – A former deputy with the Wise County Sheriff's Department was sentenced to 16 months in federal prison Wednesday for taking nude photographs of sex offenders.

Chad Alan Hightower, 42, 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.

"There was bad judgment on my part," Hightower said Wednesday morning in a federal courtroom before his sentence was announced. "If I could go back in time and change what I did, I would."

Hightower's attorney Paul Belew noted to the court that Hightower pleaded guilty to the charges early in the case and cooperated with authorities.

Hightower was sentenced Wednesday before a federal magistrate in Fort Worth as part of a plea agreement he reached with federal prosecutors.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of deprivation of rights under color of law in September 2015.

Hightower got eight months in prison on each count, and was ordered to serve them consecutively. He also was fined $3,000 and was placed on supervised release for a year after his release.

Hightower, who surrendered his peace officer's license on Tuesday, remains free on bond, but he is to report to prison officials Feb. 8.

Hightower resigned from the Wise County Sheriff's Department in September 2014, officials said. Belew told the court that Hightower has been working for a funeral escort service.

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