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Tyrone attorney facing civil action in sexual assault case

A Tyrone attorney is facing civil proceedings in Blair County stemming from a sexual assault that occurred at a Coalport, Clearfield County residence, in April 2000.
In February, James Bigelow, 65, entered guilty pleas to two counts of summary disorderly conduct in the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas and was sentenced to serve six-months’ incarceration at the county jail, suspended on the condition that he successfully complete six-months of county-monitored probation. He was originally charged with indecent assault and harassment and stalking.
According to the 47-year-old victim, who now resides in Altoona, her aunt retained Bigelow’s legal services in regards to power of attorney. She said Bigelow contacted her to finalize a single document that would change power of attorney and wanted to bring it to her home to give it to her.
“He always seemed like the grandfather-type to me,” said the victim. “I met with him a few times prior to this and spoke with him on the phone. I trusted him and he didn’t give me any reason not to.
“But I still thought it was a little odd that he wanted to come all the way from his office in Altoona to Coalport, but he said he had other business to do in the county.”
She further stated that Bigelow arrived at her home and told her he didn’t get the document dictated in time.
“I was in the process of selling my home at that time and he said he wanted to see inside it because he had never seen an A-frame before,” she said. “So I left him in.”
She said after about a half hour, she told him she was expecting company and asked him to leave.
“He started out the back door, but then turned and he was all over me,” she said. “I was holding on to the bathroom door and he was kissing me and putting his hands down my sweatpants. I didn’t feel like there was anything I could do to get him off me.”
She said she was finally able to get him to leave with a promise that she would call him the next day, but after leaving through the back door, he again returned and continued the assault.
“After I finally got him to leave, I locked the door. I didn’t want him to get back in,” she said.
She said she wasn’t going to contact authorities concerning the incident, but after speaking with her husband the next day, decided to contact state police in Clearfield.
She said following the incident, Bigelow attempted to contact her several times in an attempt to drop the charges. She said he wanted to pay for a “few” sessions of counseling for her.
“I was appalled,” she said.
She also said she drafted a letter for Bigelow stating she would drop the charges if he would pay her $80,000.
“Now, his attorney (Thomas Dickey) is using that against me,” she said. “ He’s (Dickey) is claiming bribery and extortion and I’m just trying to get a payday out of this. That’s crazy. I was sexually assaulted and he shouldn’t be able to get away with that.”
Dickey did not immediately return phone calls to The Daily Herald.
According to the woman’s attorney, Dan Kraut of Pittsburgh, the civil proceedings are moving at a slow pace, and only a few motions have been heard, all in Clearfield County.
“The case hasn’t been transferred out of Blair County,” said Kraut. “But all of the motions so far have been heard in front of (President Judge John K. Jr.) Reilly in Clearfield. There’s conflicts here because Mr. Bigelow practices law in Blair County, so I’m assuming most of the motions and argument will be held up in Clearfield.”
According to Kraut, his criminal complaint seeks monetary reimbursement for psychological damages suffered by his client.
“We want a jury to hear this,” said Kraut. “They would be the ones to decide the amount.”
According to a spokesperson at the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, Mr. Bigelow is continuing to practice law and no further action has been taken against him.