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Sex offender accused of touching woman in gym

Leonard Barton Higdon Jr.

WILLISTON - A high-risk sex offender from Georgia is awaiting trial here for allegations that he touched a woman inappropriately at a Williston gym.

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Leonard Barton Higdon Jr., 42, is charged with gross sexual imposition, a Class A felony, and felonious restraint, a Class C felony, in Williams County District Court.

According to a police report and court records, a woman told investigators she was working out at a Williston gym Feb. 7 and was in a secluded area of the gym with Higdon when he hugged her and began to touch intimate parts of her body.

The woman struggled and eventually got away from Higdon, the police report said.

“It’s definitely an alarming incident for the Williston Police Department,” said Detective David Peterson.

Higdon has a history of sexual assaults in Georgia and is required to register as a sex offender for life.

He was convicted in 1996 in Georgia of statutory rape after he gave a 13-year-old girl a ride on a four-wheeler and had sex with her at two locations, according to the North Dakota sex offender registry website.

Higdon also was convicted in 2006 and 2008 for two separate charges of sexual battery for inappropriately touching females, one under the age of 16.

Higdon is being held in the Williams County Jail on $100,000 bond. A trial is scheduled for May 19.

Higdon’s attorney was out of the office Friday and not available for comment.