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PENN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) – Police are looking for more victims after the arrest of a man who ran a day care with his wife. Police believe 70-year-old James Battista sexually assaulted four young girls at his in-home Little Friends Daycare on the 2700 block of Newark Road in Penn Township.
Police say the assaults happened from 2006 to 2009 when the victims were between the ages of 3 and 7. The victims are now teenagers.
“We have reason to believe there are more victims that have yet to come forward,” said Lt. William Donahue.
Trooper Stefano Gallina said Battista began working at the day care in 2004 or 2005.
Gallina said an investigation into Battista began in August 2009 after the first complaint, and then a second victim came forward in April 2010. The alleged victims were between 3 and 4 at the time.
According to Gallina, a decision was made by prosecutors back then to hold off on charging Battista.
Gallina added that Battista’s wife had been running the day care for 25 years, but it closed around 2010, and the couple moved to Drexel Hill in Delaware County.
Neighbors say they were shocked at the charges.
“I would never, ever imagine such a thing,” one woman said. “It’s disgusting.”
Battista was arrested near his home Wednesday and charged with rape of a child, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault, and endangering the welfare of children. He was arraigned and held on $500,000 bail.
Battista has a preliminary hearing planned for March 26.
If you or someone you know believe they are a victim, contact Pennsylvania State Police.