Police: St. Clair County man charged with human trafficking had been out on bond in an unrelated sexual abuse case

Crime

PELL CITY, Ala. (WIAT) — A St. Clair man, who was out on bond in an unrelated sexual abuse case, has been charged with human trafficking in Pell City.

According to police reports, Brent Lee Higginbotham was seen confronting a teenage girl Saturday afternoon in a parking lot in the 800 block of Martin Street South in Pell City, where he blocked the door of her car, made sexual comments and solicited her for sex.

After investigating the incident, police found Higginbotham at a residence in the 4700 block of Red Hawk Trail in Monday and arrested him. Higginbotham, 27, was charged with first-degree human trafficking, a Class A felony that can include 10 to 99 years in prison and fines as high as $60,000.

Paul Irwin, chief of the Pell City Police Department, said he was glad Higginbotham was out of the community. In a statement released to media Tuesday, Irwin said the incident Saturday was not the first time Higginbotham had tried to victimize a minor.

“The victim was very upset by the behavior of this criminal and we are fortunate that she is physically safe,” Irwin said. “I have confidence in our courts that he will face the justice the victim and the community deserve.”

Back in November 2017, Higginbotham was arrested and charged with one count of first-degree sexual abuse and one count of second-degree sexual abuse for groping a 14-year-old girl at a Wal-Mart in Trussville. Before his arrest Monday, Higginbotham had been out on bond.

In the statement, Irwin said it was unfortunate that Higginbotham had been released from jail in the Trussville case.

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