Pennsylvania Day Care Worker Accused of Sexually Assaulting 4 Children

James Anthony Battista is charged with rape of a child, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children.

What to Know

  • A worker at Little Friends Daycare is accused of sexually assaulting four children between the ages of 3 and 7 at the day care.
  • James Anthony Battista is charged with rape of a child, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, and other offenses.
  • Investigators believe more victims are out there and encourage them to come forward.

A man who worked at a now-closed suburban day care with his wife is accused of sexually assaulting several young children.

James Anthony Battista, 70, is charged with rape of a child, unlawful contact with a minor, aggravated indecent assault, indecent assault and endangering the welfare of children.

Battista is accused of raping at least four children, between the ages of 3 and 7, at Little Friends Daycare, the in-home day care that his wife owned in Penn Township, Chester County. The alleged assaults occurred between 2006 and 2009.

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Little Friends Daycare was located near Penn London Elementary School and Avon Grove Intermediate School in West Grove.

The investigation first began in August of 2009 when the first victim came forward accusing Battista of sexually assaulting her. A second victim came forward in April, 2010.

"No charges were brought forth back then," Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Stefano Gallina said. "The victims were 3 and 4. A decision was made based on that and other factors to hold off on prosecution at that time."

The business later closed and Battista and his wife moved to Delaware County in 2010, according to police.

"To have a pedophile so close ... it's sickening," Sandra Laxton, Battista's former neighbor, told NBC10.

Two more victims later came forward, accusing Battista of sexually assaulting them when they were children. The latest allegation was made on June 14 of last year.

Battista was arrested on Wednesday during a traffic stop in Drexel Hill. He was arraigned and remanded to the Chester County Prison on $500,000 straight bail pending a preliminary hearing on March 19.

Police announced Thursday that they believe more victims are out there.

"Due to the severity of the crimes and the fact that Battista came into contact with numerous children over the years, we have reason to believe that there are more victims that have yet to come forward," Pennsylvania State Police Lt. William Donahue said.

Trooper Gallina had a message for potential victims.

"We are there for you," he said. "You may be scared. You may not want to come forward but we will keep your anonymity as best we can. And we will investigate whatever crime occurred to you to the fullest extent."

If you believe you've been victimized by Battista or know someone who was, please call Trooper Gallina at (610) 268-2022.

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