A Surf Pines man was found guilty Friday of 23 charges stemming from several “peeping Tom” incidents in his neighborhood.
Kirk Richard Cazee, 56, peered through bedroom windows and recorded videos of residents during private moments, a jury found after a four-day trial.
Cazee was convicted on multiple counts of using a child in a display of sexual conduct, each of which carries a minimum of nearly six years in prison. He was also convicted of invasion of personal privacy, stalking and criminal trespass.
The Clatsop County Sheriff’s Office had been investigating a potential prowler in the Surf Pines area, based on numerous complaints from residents, for more than a year leading up to Cazee’s first arrest in February. After his release from jail on those charges, he was arrested again in April following further investigation by the sheriff’s office. He has since been held in jail on $2 million bail
The victims included several young women — some of whom were under 18 years old — and one man. During the trial, some of the victims — sometimes with tears streaming down their faces — recalled seeing a subject on their property. A witness also recounted confronting a shadowy figure from a distance in his backyard before the man ran away. Witnesses believed Cazee was the prowler but were unable to unequivocally identify him.
Much of the case was based on videos obtained from Cazee’s phone. The videos often displayed the victims in a state of nudity and, occasionally, performing sexual acts. The videos do not reveal who took them, but they at times appear to record the voice of a man sexually pleasing himself.
“How many other people have video of the victims in this case?” Chief Deputy District Attorney Ron Brown rhetorically asked the jury during closing arguments.
Cazee was charged with two counts of criminal trespass after his original arrest. Around 10 p.m. that night, sheriff’s deputies found Cazee walking in the area without a flashlight minutes after yet another complaint of a man searching through windows. Just before his arrest, deputies found that Cazee was carrying a pair of binoculars and some toilet paper.
Cazee told deputies that he brought the binoculars to observe wildlife, but Brown called the optical aid one of the “smoking guns” in the case.
“Good luck unless the wildlife is standing under a streetlight that doesn’t exist in Surf Pines,” Brown said.
Brown also presented evidence that Cazee, a surgical nurse in Portland at the time, had stolen mail from one of the victims and kept it at his Portland mobile home. Cazee’s wife and son testified that he often went for walks by himself late at night.
One of the victims, due to repeated suspicions of someone prowling outside her home, placed a surveillance camera outside her residence in early 2017. That camera footage, on two occasions, displayed a man whose face was not visible because his hood was up.
The man was wearing a camouflage jacket in one of the videos. Cazee was wearing a camouflage jacket at the time of his arrest, though attorneys debated whether the jacket was the same one that appeared in the video.
Lawyers also argued about whether the various states of nudity in the videos warranted certain charges and if Cazee made sufficient contact with the victim to justify the stalking charges.
Ryan Colvin Connell, Cazee’s Hillsboro-based attorney, pointed out that a number of victims recalled the peeper as being “tall and skinny,” arguing that his client’s appearance could not be described as thin. He also highlighted the fact that there was no witness testimony or physical evidence conclusively proving that Cazee recorded the videos.
“This case is a pretty classic example of a time when the state is trying to make evidence fit a specific person as opposed to just following the evidence,” Connell said during closing arguments. “When their witnesses say there’s nothing here to say, ‘This person made this video.’ If you say he does, you’re speculating, you’re guessing, you’re filling in blanks that they’re saying is not full.”
But Brown likened his case to that of a child caught at the end of a trail of crumbs that begin at an open cookie jar.
“You’ve got a trail of circumstances that leads you to believe that a certain thing happened,” Brown said.
At minimum, Cazee will be sentenced to nearly 30 years in prison for using a child in a sexually explicit display. He may face more prison time depending on whether the sentences are imposed concurrently or consecutively. A sentencing hearing has been scheduled for February.