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Judge seals documents in civil case settled out of court involving Tyrone area attorney

A judge presiding over a civil case involving a Tyrone attorney has sealed the documents about it after it was settled out of court, according to information obtained by The Daily Herald.
Last week, a clerk at the Blair County Prothonotary’s office informed the newspaper the records in the case had been sealed by the judge just prior to the case going to trial. She said a settlement agreement had been reached between the two parties. She also explained, in some cases, when a judge seals documents in a case, only the final proceedings or decisions are sealed. However, she said in this particular case the judge sealed all documents which were ever filed in the civil action.
The case involving Tyrone attorney James Bigelow stemmed from an April 2000 sexual assault incident at a residence in Coalport, Clearfield County.
According to an October 2002 Daily Herald article, Bigelow, now 67, entered guilty pleas in February of 2002 to two counts of summary disorderly conduct in the Clearfield County Court of Common Pleas. He was sentenced to serve six-months incarceration at the county jail. The jail sentence was suspended on the condition that he would successfully complete six-months of county-monitored probation.
The previous report said he was originally charged with indecent assault and harassment and stalking. The Clearfield County probation office said, had he been found guilty on the indecent assault charges he could have faced up to two years in prison.
According to the original Herald article, the female victim in the case said her aunt retained Bigelow’s legal services in regards to a power of attorney. She said Bigelow contacted her to finalize a document that would change the power of attorney and he wanted to bring it to the woman’s home to give it to her.
The victim contended when Bigelow arrived at her house he didn’t have the document completed but asked to come into the house for other reasons. The victim contended Bigelow wanted to see the inside of the house which she said was for sale at the time. It was then that the assault was said to have happened.
The Herald reported the woman 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 also 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.
She also said she drafted a letter for Bigelow stating she would drop the charges if he would pay her $80,000. She contended Bigelow’s attorney was using the request against her. In the October 2002 article, she was quoted as saying, “He (Bigelow’s attorney) 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.”
The civil case was filed in Blair County but according to the woman’s attorney in 2002, Dan Kraut of Pittsburgh, all the motions in the case were heard by Judge John K, Reilly of Clearfield. Reilly also handled the criminal case regarding Bigelow.
At the time, Kraut said his client was seeking monetary reimbursement for psychological damages.
Judge Reilly made the latest ruling to seal the records in the case after the settlement agreement was reached. The case had been scheduled for jury selection on April 13.
The Herald had previously reported a spokesperson at the Disciplinary Board of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court said no action had been taken against him.
The woman’s attorney was contacted at his office this week and said he could not comment on the matter. Mr. Bigelow did not return a call left at his home. Judge Reilly was said to be unavailable until at least Friday.