A Brighton man will serve eight to 10 years in prison for secretly videotaping people and photographing young children through the windows of their Brookline homes as they undressed.
Robert E. Higgins, Jr., 48, was also sentenced yesterday to 10 years of probation after he pleaded guilty to 14 indictments, including child pornography and wiretap charges, in Norfolk Superior Court in Dedham.
“This was a very disturbing case, for residents of Brookline and frankly anyone with small children,” Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey said in a press release announcing the sentence. “We asked for a stiff sentence and we got it.”
Brookline Police arrested Higgins just before midnight on Aug. 11, 2010, when a resident of Lawton Street in Brookline reported seeing a person shining a light into the resident's apartment. Brookline police responded, and arrested Higgins on charges of secretly recording someone, receiving stolen property, and trespassing.
When police arrested Higgins, he had student directories for the kindergarten through 8th grade Devotion School in Brookline and for Brookline High School in his backpack. He also had purple latex gloves, a hand drawn map of the neighborhood and Google maps of Brookline street addresses.
The school directories contained phone numbers and addresses of the students’ parents, and the school district sent a letter to the parents of Devotion School children stating that investigators believe Higgins obtained the directories by gaining access to someone’s residence, and not from town or school databases.
According to court records, police discovered that Higgins’ computer hard drive had thousands of images and video files, and police were able to identify images and videos of 11 children and 10 women who live or lived in Brookline.
Most of the images and videotaping Higgins possessed were taken in 2010, but the district attorney’s office said Higgins had been videotaping young girls for years.
According to Morrissey, once Higgins is released from prison and begins his probation, he will have to undergo sex offender treatment, a mental health evaluation, stay out of Brookline and stay away from all victims. He can have no unsupervised contact or employment with children and must wear a GPS device, submit a DNA sample and register as a sex offender.