High­fill’s mayor ar­rested in con­nec­tion with sex crimes with teen girl

Westside Eagle-Observer - - FRONT PAGE - TRACY NEAL tneal@nwadg.com

BEN­TONVILLE — Stacy Digby re­signed as High­fill’s mayor shortly be­fore be­ing ar­rested March 28 in con­nec­tion with sex crimes in­volv­ing a teen. Digby, 44, was ar­rested in con­nec­tion with sex­ual as­sault and sex­ual in­de­cency with a child.

Bond was set at $60,000 for the for­mer High­fill mayor ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a 17-year-old girl. Rogers Dis­trict Judge Chris Grif­fin set Digby’s bond Thurs­day and or­dered him not to have any contact with the girl. Digby’s ar­raign­ment is sched­uled for May 7 in Cir­cuit Judge Robin Green’s court­room.

The Ben­ton County Sher­iff’s Of­fice is­sued a news re­lease in Jan­uary that Digby was be­ing in­ves­ti­gated for hav­ing an in­ap­pro­pri­ate re­la­tion­ship with a teen.

High­fill Po­lice Chief Blake Webb said in Jan­uary his depart­ment started the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­fore send­ing it to the sher­iff’s of­fice.

The case started af­ter some res­i­dents and mem­bers of High­fill United Methodist Church ex­pressed con­cern about Digby’s re­la­tion­ship with a 17-year-old girl, ac­cord­ing to a prob­a­ble cause af­fi­davit. One per­son re­ported see­ing the girl sit­ting in Digby’s lap at a bowl­ing al­ley and a po­lice of­fi­cer saw Digby with the girl at 1 a.m. in his of­fice, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

The Chil­dren’s Ad­vo­cacy Cen­ter of Ben­ton County in­ter­viewed the girl and she de­nied Digby ever in­ap­pro­pri­ately touched her or there was any phys­i­cal at­trac­tion be­tween them, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

A friend of Digby’s told detectives of a con­ver­sa­tion she had with Digby af­ter of­fi­cers searched his home, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. Digby told the friend he and the girl be­gan hav­ing sex when she was 12 or 13 years old and he had been get­ting pho­to­graphs from the girl for years, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

The girl then told detectives she and Digby had a sex­ual re­la­tion­ship, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. The teen said they had sex for the first time when she turned 16, at Digby’s home, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

The teen said they sent nude pho­to­graphs to each other, ac­cord­ing to court doc­u­ments.

Detectives dis­cov­ered a pho­to­graph show­ing a nude man’s hand con­ceal­ing his gen­i­tals, but the face isn’t in the photo, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit. The im­age had text say­ing, “How bad do you want it.” Detectives be­lieve the pho­to­graph was taken at Digby’s home, ac­cord­ing to the af­fi­davit.

In a March 28 let­ter, Digby stated his res­ig­na­tion was ef­fec­tive im­me­di­ately. He thanked the city for al­low­ing him to serve and spoke of the fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties con­fronting the town when he first took of­fice and of the muchim­proved out­look for the city to­day.

Digby was elected in 2010 and was near­ing the end of his sec­ond term. The coun­cil will meet April 13 to ei­ther se­lect some­one to serve the rest of Digby’s term or call for a spe­cial elec­tion to fill the va­cancy.


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