North Hills ice cream shop owner charged with sexually assaulting young girls

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The owner of a McCandless ice cream shop is scheduled to appear in court next month on charges that he sexually assaulted two sisters.

The girls told Northern Regional Police that David Higginbotham, 61, inappropriately touched them dozens of times over the past five years, often at his Marshall home, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

Northern Regional police began investigating Wednesday after the older girl, who recently turned 13, "wrote a note sort of itemizing the assaults and turned that over to her parents," Chief Robert Amann said.

He said the girl's parents contacted police that evening.

The 13-year-old girl told police Mr. Higginbotham engaged in various sex acts with her more than 50 times and that "they would go to jail if she told," according to the affidavit.

Her 11-year-old sister told police she had similar encounters with Mr. Higginbotham more than 20 times and that he told her, "When you get older, you will think I'm a dirty old man," police wrote.

Police on Thursday arrested Mr. Higginbotham at Handel's, the ice cream shop he owns in McCandless Crossing. He was released from the Allegheny County Jail on $50,000 bail and faces charges of statutory sexual assault, corruption of minors, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other crimes.

His defense attorney, Philip DiLucente, said, "We look forward to the preliminary hearing," which is scheduled for Dec. 11.

Chief Amann said that, as a precaution, he's wanted anyone else who might have been a victim of Mr. Higginbotham to call Northern Regional Police at 724-625-3157.


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