A Surf Pines man was sentenced to more than 35 years in prison Friday after his conviction on 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 in January. He was convicted on six counts of using a child in a display of sexual conduct, eight counts of invasion of personal privacy, five counts of stalking and four counts of 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 2017. After his release from jail on those charges, he was arrested again in April following further investigation by the sheriff’s office. He has been held in jail on $2 million bail.
The crimes involved several young women — some of whom were under 18 years old — and one man. Authorities found several videos in Cazee’s possession that displayed the victims in states of nudity and, sometimes, performing sexual acts. The videos also picked up audio of Cazee whispering sexually explicit language and zippers being undone. Deputies found during Cazee’s arrest that he was carrying a pair of binoculars and some toilet paper, which Deputy District Attorney Ron Brown called one of the case’s “smoking guns.”
Around 10 p.m. the night of his first arrest, sheriff’s deputies found Cazee walking in the area without a flashlight minutes after yet another complaint of a man searching through windows. Authorities also found 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.
One of the victims, due to repeated suspicions of someone prowling outside her home, placed a surveillance camera outside her residence in early 2017.
“I felt like I was losing my mind,” she said.
Victims speak out
In one of the videos, the man was wearing a camouflage jacket that appeared identical to the one Cazee wore when he was arrested.
Nearly all of the victims — and a few family members — spoke at the sentencing hearing. Common themes surfaced in their statements: anger, lack of sleep, weariness of surroundings at home, lost feelings of privacy and keeping weapons nearby as they sleep at night.
“This violation was not physical, but it was more difficult than I ever could have imagined. How could you know a year after a trauma like how much of a toll it will have on your life?” one victim said. “To put it freely, the thought of Mr. Cazee walking around in public, whether now or 30 years from now, makes me want to crawl out of my own skin.”
Two other young women detailed how their lack of sleep has affected their performance at school. One dropped out of high school her senior year, while another— a college student — said she went from earning a 4.0 GPA to a 0.86 GPA.
“I will definitely not be the same person I was before,” one victim said. “It has made my anxiety worse, my depression worse. I’m afraid to get out of my car in the driveway and walk in the front door at night.”
Another victim described how she has been having a difficult time being intimate with her boyfriend out of fear that someone is watching. Some said they almost panic when they encounter someone who looks like Cazee.
“It wasn’t just my anxiety or somebody playing tricks on me. Someone was actually outside my window,” a victim said. “If he didn’t get caught, what would’ve happened?”
For the parents and guardians of the victims, feelings of an inability to protect their children were pervasive. Some exuded their anger at Cazee, even asking him to look at them during their remarks and calling his facial expression “smug.”
One of the victim’s grandmother’s said she and her husband moved to Surf Pines with their granddaughters because they heard the community was safe. They often left their blinds up and curtains open.
“Shame on you. Shame on you for doing this to my granddaughter and to all the other girls,” she said. “It’s so sick. It’s really sick.”
During the January trial, Cazee’s wife and son testified that he often went for walks by himself late at night. They also spoke Friday.
“I love you and I will always love you, but I am deeply hurt and confused by your actions,” his son said. “You’ve stayed my personal Superman until you were arrested.”
Peering through windows
Cazee admitted to peering through windows in a psychosexual evaluation released minutes before the sentencing hearing. The evaluation, and several comments by lawyers in the hearing, revealed that Cazee is likely to face several other charges from the U.S. Department of Justice. He apologized to the victims during the hearing.
“I had absolutely no idea of the impact of my actions before. I do now,” Cazee said. “I feel like some think that I have no remorse, but that is not true. I would deeply apologize to anyone who feels like a victim.”
Soon before sentencing Cazee, Judge Dawn McIntosh said the psychosexual evaluation described a longstanding problem that he failed to address.
“The work that the sheriff’s office did in this case is what got you,” the judge said. “I don’t think you cared. I don’t think you thought about anybody but yourself when you were doing this. I think you’re a dangerous man. I don’t think you’re likely to change your spots.”
McIntosh commended the “articulate,” “strong” and “heartfelt” words of the victims.
“I hope you were listening because I certainly was,” she told Cazee. “You see words like ‘invasion of personal privacy’ and you don’t think off the bat about the damage that is done.”