William Higgins, the district attorney of Bedford County, says he committed adultery but not a crime when he had sex with a woman in his courthouse office six weeks ago.
The woman, though, now says Mr. Higgins sexually assaulted her the night of July 10. She filed a private criminal complaint against him Friday with District Judge H. Cyril Bingham Jr. of Bedford.
Because the accused is the district attorney, one of Mr. Higgins' assistants forwarded the case to state Attorney General Tom Corbett, who will decide whether to file charges.
Mr. Corbett yesterday authorized an investigation into the woman's allegations. A prosecutor and agents from the attorney general's staff were being assigned to the case, said Kevin Harley, a spokesman for Mr. Corbett.
Mr. Higgins, who is 34 and married, said the woman's allegations were "personally and politically motivated." A Republican who was re-elected to his second term as district attorney last year, he declined to elaborate on how politics figured into the allegation against him.
"I've been more than candid about this situation," he said in a telephone interview. "But I'm not going to talk about it beyond what I've said in my prepared statement."
His sexual encounter with the woman followed a committee meeting of Bedford County Republicans. Mr. Higgins was vice chairman of the county GOP at the time.
By his account, the woman drove to his office to meet him, and they had consensual sex.
The attorney general's staff said the woman alleges sexual misconduct by Mr. Higgins, but it would not release a copy of her allegations. Mr. Harley said a citizen's complaint is not a public record unless it leads to criminal charges.
Milan Simonich can be reached at email@example.com or 412-263-1956.