By ERIC A. HOWALD
Of the Keizertimes
A Keizer man will serve five years in prison after pleading guilty to 10 counts of encouraging sex abuse stemming from an arrest in May.
Trevor Phillip Highsmith, of Keizer, was arrested after a Claggett Creek Middle School student noticed him following her and taking photos or video with his cell phone.
The student made note of the man’s vehicle, license plate and a large sticker on the top of the windshield and reported those details to school staff. Staff, in turn, reported the incident to the Keizer Police Department (KPD). Sgt. Trevor Wenning and School Resource Officer David Zavala began looking into the case.
About 24 hours later, Zavala patrolled the area and saw a male in a vehicle matching the description near the intersection of Alder Drive N.E. and Pleasant View Drive N.E. Zavala followed the vehicle and saw it be parked in front of a residence on the 3700 block of Pleasant View Drive. The driver exited the car and went into the residence.
Once back-up arrived, Zavala approached the house and made contact with the driver, later identified as Highsmith. Highsmith gave consent to search his phone and it revealed dozens of images of child abuse in addition to photos of females that appeared to be walking to and from school that had been created in the weeks leading up to his arrest.
On Monday, Nov. 28, Highsmith entered his guilty plea to the charges in front of Marion County Circuit Court Judge Claudia Burton in exchange for five additional counts of encouraging sex abuse being dropped.
In addition to 72 months in prison, Highsmith will be subject to two years of parole and probation supervision after he is released, if Burton accepts the recommended sentence.
Deputy District Attorney Brendan Murphy commended the KPD for their efforts in investigating the case. Lt. Chris Nelson was the lead investigator.
“Lt. Nelson, who oversees our Criminal Investigations Unit (detectives), follows the most serious of cases closely and does an excellent job keeping me and Chief John Teague informed,” said KPD Deputy Chief Jeff Kuhns.