Attorney General Shapiro Announces Criminal Charges against Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins

Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced criminal charges against the Bedford County District Attorney for protecting known drug dealers from criminal prosecution, revealing the identities of confidential informants to individuals under active investigation by law enforcement and offering favorable treatment to women with whom he was having sexual relations.

Following charging recommendations from a Statewide Investigating Grand Jury, William Higgins, 43, of South Bedford Street, Bedford, was charged this morning with 11 counts of obstructing administration of law or other governmental function, two counts of official oppression, three counts of recklessly endangering another person, nine counts of intimidation of witnesses or victims and six counts of hindering apprehension or prosecution.

“District Attorney Higgins traded his power and law enforcement authority for sexual favors and violated his oath to the people of Bedford County – compromising the security of his community and the safety of confidential informants,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said today at a press conference with law enforcement at the Bedford County Courthouse. “Higgins’ conduct and manipulation of these women was a complete betrayal of the trust of the good citizens of Bedford County – who elected him to enforce the law and keep them safe. Today, with our partners in the Pennsylvania State Police, we are ending this culture and working to restore trust in the Bedford County District Attorney’s Office.”

Attorney General Shapiro discussed the several themes uncovered by the 40th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury which his prosecutors worked with on this case over the past several years:

  • District Attorney Higgins offered favorable treatment – like lighter sentences and reduced bail amounts – to women with whom he was having sexual relations. 
    In 2016, one female drug dealer was arrested for driving under the influence in Somerset County. At the time of her arrest, she was still on probation for a burglary conviction. Higgins called her probation officer’s supervisor and requested that no violation of probation be issued, advising the case against the female was “weak” and would not be prosecuted. The Somerset District Attorney later established that she did not provide this information to Higgins.
  • District Attorney Higgins protected known drug dealers from criminal prosecution.
    In one instance in June 2015, Pennsylvania State Police attempted to obtain a search warrant for the house of a female drug dealer in Bedford County. Higgins refused to approve the search warrant, even though two separate eyewitnesses reported a large amount of heroin and cocaine at the drug dealer’s residence. He reportedly later told her that he “saved her ass.” The female related this incident during her testimony before the Grand Jury, when she also confirmed an intimate relationship with Higgins.
  • District Attorney Higgins revealed the identities of confidential informants to individuals under active investigation by law enforcement.
    During the course of the probe, investigators learned of at least nine instances during which Higgins provided the names of confidential informants to known drug dealers – putting the lives of those informants and law enforcement officers in serious risk. In one telling occurrence in August 2015, Higgins revealed the identity of a confidential informant to a female drug dealer. She later declined to sell drugs to the informant. When she testified before the Grand Jury, she relayed she did not make the sale because Higgins verified that the person attempting to purchase drugs was a confidential informant.
  • District Attorney Higgins requested that the three main cooperating witnesses in the case not speak with investigators and conceal their relationship with him to law enforcement.
    One female drug dealer contacted Higgins after receiving a Grand Jury subpoena. Higgins advised her to deny – under oath – the existence of a sexual relationship between Higgins and her.

“The charges announced today are the culmination of years of tireless police work conducted by dedicated state police investigators, in cooperation with our law enforcement partners,” said Major Douglas Burig, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “What was uncovered is a disturbing pattern of criminal activity that put police, witnesses, and the community at risk. Today marks the next step toward seeking justice for the victims and restoring public trust in the office of the Bedford County District Attorney.”

Higgins turned himself in this morning without incident and waived his preliminary hearing. As a result of the charges, Higgins resigned his official office. First Assistant District Attorney Leslie Childers-Potts will be acting Bedford District Attorney until a special election can be held to fill the role.

“These arrests are the result of collaboration with our partners in the Pennsylvania State Police and the effective use of the Statewide Investigating Grand Jury,” Attorney General Shapiro said at the press conference. “As Attorney General, I will not allow individuals in power to abuse their public office. I am focused on rooting out public corruption and will continue to prosecute anyone who breaks the law – without fear and without favor.”

Higgins was arraigned on the charges this morning. Bail was set at $50,000 unsecured. The case will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Tomm Mutschler.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone who has experienced or witnessed similar behavior by District Attorney Higgins is encouraged to come forward by calling this special hotline number: 724-332-7252.

  • The criminal complaint and affidavit can be viewed below




This morning, I tendered my resignation as District Attorney, effective immediately.

I have been accused of engaging in conduct unbecoming of a District Attorney, but more importantly, unbecoming of a husband and father. Unfortunately, for legal reasons, I cannot comment on the validity of these accusations at this time. I have faith in the criminal justice process that I have been a part of for my entire legal career.

I have concluded that, in light of these charges, I am not able to effectively fulfill my duties as District Attorney and that my family needs my full attention.

It has been a great honor and privilege to serve as a prosecutor in this community for the past 18 years. I hope I have made a positive difference.

I am confident that Lesley Childers-Potts will represent the Office of District Attorney with honor and professionalism. I wish her the best.

I will not comment further on this matter. I pray to God for guidance as I work to strengthen my relationship with my family and strive to be the man that they deserve.


  1. i had to check the video again, i never heard the AG state that higgins forced anyone to perform oral sex on him. if this occurred they would have done it on their own free will. obviously they did not think they could have won their case if they had to rely on sexual favors to get them out of trouble. oh and here is something to think about. one of the witnesses that claimed she had sex with higgins for a lower sentence, is currently in state prison.

  2. I see stupidity runs deep in some of you people. He didnt “go after” anyone. The kid committed a crime and was prosecuted. Period genius. Republicans? May I ask who was impeached because he was a lying deviant??? Who was it that was getting blow jobs in the oval office??? The Democrats wrote the book on deviant behavior junior.

  3. It’s pretty funny how he went after some kid that humped a Jesus statue and he turns around and makes drug addicts blow him. Are all Republicans sexual deviants?

  4. constable mcbee is a lying p.o.s. he is not blocked from commenting on here. furthermore. i was told he claims i removed him from the bcfp news page. i checked under his real name. and he was never a member under carl mcbee. so unless he created some fake account and got blocked because it obviously looked like a fake account he can go tell it to someone who would believe his lies. i talked to a few people. the district justices will not give him any work because they said he tries to overstep what he can really do as a constable.

  5. Constable McBee is claiming on his fake Facebook Account that BCFP has blocked him from commenting. reading the comments i do not see where anyone said he could not comment.

  6. Wow, Lawyer, this Mcbee dewb is on some kinda power trip ! Serving papers on people with delinquent credit card payments ,riding around in a unmarked cruiser with his rear windows down ,even if its 20 degrees out showing his bars on his rear windows !! Lmao ,,his name should be “wannabe ” instead of Mcbee !! LMAO, what a loser ! No wonder the district courts dont trust him with anything important ! What a loser ! Well do the judges a favor and resign ,it’ll be no loss !and Mcbee ,anytime u want schooled ,stop over ! I’ll have John stop over too ,and we will be happy to school you on a few things !

  7. Motormouths feelings are hurt by words like retard. Poor little fella, then he wants to talk all tough guy. Keyboard commando.

  8. John Lawler you sir are to kool for words. Better run the bcfp is full of higgins wannabes!

  9. you call this site fake news, while posting under a fake name, and come here reading these comments. excuse me if i think you are a punk ass bitch

  10. Camerawomen…I expected nothing less from you. Such big tuff guys on this site. You both got me good! News is unbiased. This site is fake news!

  11. i call them as i see it, if you can not handle that, that would be your problem not mine. by the way you sound like an ass telling people what to do here, just my opinion.

  12. Do you or anyone in bedford county no this is 2018 and the word retard you use so much shows just how uneducated you are sir(s).Higgins will get what he deserves. Let’s all move on and let higgins live with his shame! This matter is sad and makes the bedford county courthouse look very unprofessional. Shame! Also,let’s save the mouth battles for the ladies. Grow up bedford county. Thank you.

  13. Why try and convince Bill Higgins is guilty when charges were already brought up against him? It would appear Mcbee is scared of something. Repeating what some of the haters claim also … is getting old. Move on to something in detail … with proof, Mcbee … now that’s more exciting …

  14. You did something about it??? Please. And by the way there you go, you condemned me for saying you took credit and posting your exact words from your FB page. And here you go with your own words AGAIN taking credit. Randy is right, you’re a retard. You did nothing. You’re a wannabe. Trying to convince people you know that you’re some kind of hero constable. Puff yourself up for your friends and family like you’re this star law enforcement officer when in fact you’re completely opposite. I feel sorry for real hard working constables.
    I would suggest you stop posting comments on the subject because you’re looking really really stupid.

  15. i can say the same thing there constable retard, no matter what i say or do, retards like yourself will twist it around to suit yourself. and now there you are accusing the new D.A. of wrong doing. again lawler was right. it took less time then what he thought it would. he said months. it took less then two weeks for some retard to accuse her of wrong doing. and yet again you are taking credit for being involved in something we all know you had no part of. now run along and go serve paper work on some idiot. but do not come here with people that really know what is going on and try to play billy redneck badass. when all you are is a loud mouth retard

  16. it don’t matter what i do …. i can’t say or do nothing that won’t be made into what ever ya want it to be…. to fit ya needs. … the fact is ALL of you knew what was going on and did nothing ….. NOTHING …. the judges … the clerks office ….. the SO ….. the ADA damn sure knew about it …. but nothing …. least i did something about it … i didn’t sit on my butt and just watch. i tryed to do the rite thing …. yall did nothing.

  17. i like how you claim nobody knows anything about you, then claim to know about bcfp and higgins. you are so retarded. every reporter including myself had a working relationship with higgins. that is part of the media business. but you would not understand that being the billy bad redneck you think you are. everyone expected me to do their dirty work when i came upon the scene in 2009. they wanted me to bad mouth higgins so they did not have to. it sure sounds like to me lawler is right. you only became a constable to take higgins down, not to serve your twp. and that makes you just as bad as higgins. you did not become a constable to serve your community, you became a constable to seek out one person you did not like. you are corrupt just like the rest of them.

  18. ya read my post and make ya own meaning of it . ok whatever …. go for the grammer … ok … none of you know a thing about what i have or have not done. …. the freindship with higgins and the bcfp is well known. so yall can say what ya want …. i rely don’t care. i became a constable to do good but my eyes were opened to just how bad things are in bedford co. nailing higgins was part of it. everyone in that courthouse knew what was going on but turned a blind eye to it. but please continue with ya holyer than thee stuff. and im wondering why you were on my page in the first place?? so please comtinue bashing ppl ya don’t know ….

  19. Let him resign…lets not lose any sleep over it. It sounds like he was there for one reason. He has no interest in actually trying to be a good constable and make the world a better place. He feels slighted that he didn’t cuff higgins…big deal. The big issue is, he was either banging the dope ladies…or he was not. Let’s not worry about the half a dozen lives he endangered to get into their pants. :::Hint of sarcasm::: I truly feel there will be more come out of it. Some maybe true, some maybe not. Time will tell

  20. constable mcbee, that PCCD website is not accurate, because jason zembower is not even listed as the constable for cumberland valley twp. and he was voted in. so the fact that you did not find weller’s name means nothing. i can tell at the last election. weller won it as confirmed by the election office & commissioner lang

  21. the only way all the people in the courthouse would be mad at constable barney would be because he was in there whining like a little bitch that he wanted to cuff higgins with his toy cuffs. this idiot spells like he rode the short bus in school and licking the steam off the windows. give me a break, where do these retards come from ?

  22. Hey constable mcbee, are these not your words in your facebook post, “now that higgins is out … il be resinging as hopewell township constable. what needed dun is dun”? Now, those words seem to indicate to me you are trying to insinuate some kind of assistance in that investigation. We ALL know you didn’t. You see there are good constables, good men and women and I’ve worked with dozens of them like Constable Weller. Then there are those like you. You can’t write, you can’t spell, you can’t form even the simplest of logical sentences. You say you wish you could cuff Higgins up, huh. You’ve NEVER arrested anyone in your entire life.
    And fact checked? I don’t need fact checked genius I use YOUR own words.
    And you wanting to cuff him put you at odds with most everyone at the courthouse?? Listen son, you are NOT that important. No one sits around wondering what the constable in Hopewell township thinks or is doing, ok?? You think an awful lot about yourself don’t you? Truly, you’re not that important. Sorry to burst your bubble.

  23. did you fact check about the things you said about me ?? NOPE, the way i see it, you have to prove he is wrong. can you NOPE.

  24. yet you come here running your mouth about BCFP when you have no clue what you are talking about. it works both way mr. mcbee. you made a statement about BCFP when you have no clue what you are talking about.

  25. weller …. i did not clame to be the reson higgins was busted …. you don’t know me nor have we ever met … so please keep ya bs to yourself … there is no love lost on higgins by me … it is no secret that i hated him and wanted to be the one that cuffed him up and that has put me at odds with most at the court house. so keep defending him if ya want … but leave other pl out of it when ya have no clue what you are talking about. kinda funny … i don’t see you in the pccd files …

  26. The way the laws work in america is innocent till proven guilty, unless you are a FB attorney ,comments like hang him ,and another constable claiming to be the reason Higgins was brought down is completely asinine ! Every charge is a misdemeanor, nothing else ! And most charges wont stick ,if any of the witnesses are druggies!! Lol ,that will carry a lot of weight ! Higgins is spending time with his wife and children trying to get his life back on track and plan his future .thankfully some of the people on here are not the judge n jury .

  27. of course they assume. just like they assumed i would be charged or i would go down when higgins did. i have never had any state police or AG person ever come ask me questions. i will not hold my breath because everyone knows it will not happen. here we are 8 days later and NOTHING !!

  28. why would dragon force need to be preparing for a defense, what have they been charged with ?

  29. Dragon force, shouldn’t you be preparing your defense instead of trolling those who know you are guilty.

  30. Steve Reyan, do you have the proof he was doing drugs during his “gig”? IMHO there should be mandatory random surprise drug testing for ALL county elected officials to squelch all rumors. Some of the haters was demanding drug testing in the past. At least some of the haters and I are on the same page with the drug testing.

  31. Scumbag thought he could get away with anything. Threw away a $180,000 a year gig to do drugs and cheat on his wife. Stupid piece of garbage.

  32. Of all the ones bringing up a past of something that didn’t amount to a conviction, how many times did you have an affair with your other halves/half throughout your lifetime?

  33. wasn’t higgins wife pregnant when he had sex with that woman in his office, rape or not? bet she regrets not leaving his loser ass then. hopefully she and the kids can move on from him, especially when he goes to jail.

  34. furthermore, i was supplied a detailed report from the attorney of karen braman, i can see why there was no rape charges, she went to the courthouse, and when confronted by her husband, karen lied, and denied she was ever there. her own daughter had to tell her father, that her mother was there. karen braman only cried rape when tom did not believe her. why do you think tom divorced her. there were many witnesses who seen her hitting on higgins all evening, and snuck out of the event, to meet him at the courthouse, she even seen her daughter at the courthouse, and karen hid her vehicle. i read the entire report did you ??

  35. If he was committing these crimes to help drug traffickers, shouldn’t he also be charged with conspiracy to traffic drugs too? Hopefully the AG’s office will prosecute the rape case from when Corbett protected Higgins. Wonder if all the women he had sex with when committing his crimes were consensual or did he rape them too?

  36. that is not a true statement. all evidence is not allowed in a preliminary hearing. they can send the case to trial on hearsay alone. so your statement is completely false.

  37. Higgins waived his preliminary hearing. That is agreeing the attorney general has evidence that shows crimes was committed and that they have evidence that shows Higgins commited the crime. If he didn’t do anything, he wouldn’t have waived his preliminary hearing.

  38. Hey Cameraman, do you have an idea who the state trooper is that was labeled as not being credible by Higgins attorney?

  39. there will be no special election due to the county being a class 6 county. she will fill the remaining time, and will have a regular election next year

  40. Hey Cameraman, I read in the Gazette that there is supposed to be some type of special election for District Attorney, do you happen to know when this will take place and how that process work? I’m assuming Childers-Potts will be running against someone, correct?

  41. which leave me to believe your story is bullshit. here is an idea. maybe if your son stayed out of trouble you would not have to be at the courthouse dealing with the legal system. and you said, your son called him a rapist, sounds to me like he is more of a pain in the ass then you are willing to admit. do not bother commenting, i do not have hours to figure out what the hell you are rambling on about

  42. Sorry Im not gonna wright know more because I don’t want to us to misunderstand each other Take care

  43. Cameraman you misunderstood me I dont know how to write that well I said they said I was,I was just telling you whst was going on that they might think that Im sorry I flunked english I was trying to say they took my phone after accusing me of it ,i told them no the didnt have a search warrent ,so they threatened arrest l and it was giving to them,they kept it over a month cause they thought i deleted something and sent it to some kind of technology person,then they gave it back cause they couldn’t find anything cause there was nothing on it they were hoping there was ,also I told them that it was like a old flip phone and I told them I didnt even think it recored on that phone,but I don’t understand why you didn’t know what i meant I told you I really aint good at explaining things because Im not a good writer sorr

  44. you explained that a little better, now who placed you in hand cuffs, and who witnesses all this take place ?

  45. Cameraman you misunderstood me I dont know how to write that well I said they said I was,I was just telling you whst was going on that they might think that Im sorry I flunked english I was trying to say they took my phone after accusing me of it ,i told them no the didnt have a search warrent ,so they threatened arrest l and it was giving to them,they kept it over a month cause they thought i deleted something and sent it to some kind of technology person,then they gave it back cause they couldn’t find anything cause there was nothing on it they were hoping there was ,also I told them that it was like a old flip phone and I told them I didnt even think it recored on that phone,but I don’t understand why you didn’t know what i meant I told you I really aint good at explaining things because Im not a good writer sorry

  46. you just admitted in your comment you were recording, what were you recording. because i can tell you right now, if you were recording with your phone in the courtroom, you got off easy. there is NO recording in any courtroom per state law. they are well within their right take that phone based on probable cause due to you recording in the courtroom.

  47. I was at court for someone and they forced me to give them my phone to search it ,I told them they need a warrant because it wasn’t mine they threatend to arrest us to give it to them they said Im not leaving with that phone and cuffed me they didn’t give it back for a month or longer they said I deleted the hearing ,but there was nothing on it they made my friend say they could take his phone so I didn’t get arrested ,they said I wasn’t to have A phone in the court room but everybody else did they said they were texting and I was recording I swore there was nothing on it but they didnt believe me they chased me they told me to put it in the car but the assistant district attorney said stop her I think she recorded it ,there was a lawyer telling them they were courupt and he wanted his client to have his trail in a different county cause of lawyer mail or confidentiality with client or somthing,I wS there because they told my son if he didn’t drop his pcr to appeal cause the county was sick of paying a lawyer because the pulic defender didnt do there job ,we were fighting the same charge since 2013 and hes still in jail on a probation violation for a charge that he was threatened to stay in jail if he didnt plead guilty,not to mention my sons ex and her wife were friends with bill and they were in a custody battle and had there own problems with the law which they always got out of,which didnt help things , years ago we were going to call the attorney generals and the judiciary nboard and also the bar association but my son was scared of retaileation
    From bill because bill told him he was an asshole and that he was a pain in his ass and was gonna send him away for a long time,because my son called him a rapest years ago because he acted like my son was a piece of crap ,that place that county is more corupt then people even know, I heard people from other county’s who worked there talk on him from way back,I know personally the name of some of his informants from running there mouths about how they know him and he tells the other peoples bussiness and they public defenders probation and the assistant district attorney know whats up I have evidence of alot of this there is just so much to it it would take quite awhile to explain it ,but good luck Bedford county in cleaning this up although Bill swears thats not a sanctuary city thats a joke ha hah ,not to mention how Bedford county gets so much more federal grant money than average, I say no more ,but Im gonna say this, where they would put my son in a unfair position , God must have his reasons ,but he also may have his reasons for this to happen ,Truths or lies I don’t know the answers But I pray the truth comes out for everybody involved

  48. Patricia, if what you are saying is valid, i suggest you call that special number provided by the attorney general’s office. I wholeheartedly believe he is guilty of some of these things, but now i am sure there will be people calling just to try to jump on the bandwagon as well. If there is indeed more, i am sure it will all come out in a short period of time. I do feel for his family, they are the ones that will really suffer through all of this. I have read a lot of hating going on towards him. My personal opinions aside, we should all hope that he gets a fair trial, in that he is only found guilty of the things that he actually did wrong. Even if I don’t like him, I still would hate to see him convicted wrongly. Only time will tell.

  49. It’s almost comical watching Bill run from the News cameras, this is the same guy that would practically trip over himself to get on TV. Well you got it now Billy…all the TV time your pathetic heart desires. I’m sure your family is so proud of you. Such integrity Billy.

  50. I am steadily praying for his wife and children. They are the ones who suffer in this. Maybe it is time for the Attorney General’s office to investigate the whole courthouse (offices), including the Prothonotary’s office. Why is it she can’t keep help!

  51. I believe Mr. Higgins felt he could never be touched. We need to pray steadfastly for his wife and children. They are the ones to suffer from all this. I would like to see the courthouse offices investigated as a whole from Commissioners down, including the Prothonotary’s office. Funky stuff has gone on.

  52. Patricia, do please explain what you mean by “practicing law” without a license? Were you representing someone in court?

  53. Higgins threatened to come after me for some absurd charges if my son didn’t plead guilty to his charges. One of the threatened charges was that I was practicing law without a license. WTF? I heard stories about Higgins years ago about his sexual misconduct, drug use, etc. why did it take this so long to come out? He’s a scum bag. He deserves to be locked up!!!

  54. I see in the video ..trooper Hershey was at the press conference. .wasn’t his wife the asst da at one point?

  55. The phone number for attorney generals office can not be made out, to faint of color. I believe a lot of Bedford county citizens might be surprised as more details come out & maybe more names also. Ever wonder during all these big drug bust why all the people were street level. All drugs are bad, but why did they never make it up the ladder to the supplier or mule bring into the area? I feel bad for the family & children, innocent casualties of corrupt power.

  56. Offense #14, #15, #16 Reckless Endangering Another Person. Naming informants by initials is a code violation. Other people can be at risk for getting blamed for being those informants when they may not be.

  57. Cameraman, what you said will fall into why Bill Higgins refused to approve a valid criminal complaint for the arrest of female 3 on offense #3. What I don’t understand is why didn’t the police go straight to a judge for a search warrant if they felt they had good reason for a search warrant. There is no law that says they can’t.

  58. according to higgins’s attorney, higgins did not like the evidence supplied by police to obtain a search warrant. which COULD imply the evidence was tainted or just not strong enough to obtain a warrant

  59. Offense #2, on the Police Criminal Complaint, is stated the Defendant (Bill Higgins) refused to sign a valid search warrant for female 3’s residence.

    Search Warrant Requirement
    The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution protects people’s right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Police must obtain a search warrant from a judge, although courts have identified exceptions to this rule, such as emergency situations and items plainly visible to police officers. A defendant may ask a court to suppress evidence obtained in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which prevents the state from using it in a criminal trial.

  60. Now that Faith is out of office …I don’t find it amusing of how it was never investigated of her corruption in the county. I thought justice was to be fair. Rumor has it Faith Zembower is going to run for County Commissioner next election. She should be investigated first before anyone votes for her again. It wouldn’t hurt for the Attorney General to look into it.

  61. Why must people get mad over something Bill Higgins has no power over? Bill Higgins isn’t the one who hands out sentences. Like all counties, plea deals are made. For some of those law breakers who either begin to break the laws or repeating to break the laws …stop breaking the laws and no judge will pass down sentences. Common sense has gone to the dogs.

  62. I would like to say let’s give him the benefit of the doubt until investigation plays out, but seems like the more this plays out the more incriminating it gets. Who knows what he may be charged with yet, this is merely the beginning of a long list of charges he will have to account for. Look at everything he just threw away, family is now a mess too. I mean is a peice of ass really worth all this pain and grief for his family? I guess if your Bill Higgins…yes.

  63. This goes deeper than Higgins. He couldn’t have done this stuff all alone. Pull up the 60 minute shows tape from back in the 80’s i believe. Were the show was about Bedford county being the most corrupt county in Pennsylvania.There had to be more people involved. What a scumbag.

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