ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona man who was charged with inappropriately touching a young child is facing additional charges after multiple men came forward to police claiming he touched and performed sexual acts on them when they were kids in the early to mid-1990s.
Daniel High, 76, was initially charged in November 2022 after he was allegedly seen touching a young child over and under its diaper in a playroom. Altoona police attempted to speak with High about the incident but he didn’t show up at the station after agreeing to an interview, according to police.
According to court documents, police attempted to serve an arrest warrant at High’s apartment on the 200 Block of 7th Street on Nov. 15, 2022, but were unable to find him. As officers tried to locate High, they learned he made several concerning statements that lead them to believe High may have taken his life.
A welfare check was soon carried out at his apartment where police reportedly found a suicide note along with a folder containing life insurance and burial information. According to court documents, drops of blood were also found along with bloody tissues, bloody rags, a razer blade and medical supplies.
Officers said High was later found at UPMC Altoona where he was receiving treatment for self-inflicted cuts on his arms in the emergency room. When High was discharged, police noted he admitted he attempted to kill himself.
After High’s arrest was announced on Nov. 16, 2022, a man came forward to police claiming he was a victim of High back in 1993 and 1994. The man told officers he and 20 of his friends hung out at High’s apartment when he was 13-years-old.
According to the criminal complaint, the man said High, who the other juveniles would refer to as “Uncle Danny,” would give him and his friends cigarettes, marijuana and alcohol. Police noted in previous court documents that High was arrested and pleaded guilty in 1991 to furnishing alcohol to minors.
The man told officers he and some of the other kids would spend the night at the apartment where he allegedly woke up and saw High staring at him with his zipper down. The man claimed he continued to go back to High’s apartment despite the “red flags,” according to court documents.
During the second or third visit to the apartment, the man said High woke him up in the middle of the night and asked if he wanted to “go have fun.” The man claimed High took him to his attic where they watched porn on a tv and engaged in sexual acts.
During this encounter, High allegedly touched the then-teenager’s genitals while he touched himself at the same time. This continued weekly for about six months, according to the criminal complaint.
The man told police High would later perform oral sex on him at least 10 times before High tried to force him to perform oral sex. The man said he stopped going to the apartment after the incident. Police noted in the criminal complaint the man was able to remember the layout of High’s apartment which was identical to the residence’s current layout.
A few days later, police said two more men came forward and described similar incidents involving High that also occurred in the 1990s. One man claimed he was 11 or 12-years-old when High took him to another room inside his apartment and performed oral sex on him. He told officers he and High were watching the movie “Heavy Metal” when High asked if the movie was “arousing him.” The sexual contact allegedly continued for five years, according to the criminal complaint.
The same man told police High once showed him a homemade pornographic video on a VHS tape involving High and a juvenile. He claimed High also took a picture of him when he was 12-years-old drinking his first beer.
Another man claimed High performed oral sex on him in 1995 when he was 14-years-old. He told police he had fallen asleep at High’s apartment when he woke up and found him staring at him. High then removed the then-teenager’s pants and performed the sexual act.
Police said High would commonly take the victims on trips including a camping trip at a state park in Huntingdon County where he allegedly had sexual contact with kids. High also told the victims the sexual contact was normal or special and said not to tell anyone about it because “bad things would happen,” according to the criminal complaint.
A witness who was questioned by police said he was slightly older than the victims at the time of the alleged incidents. The witness claimed he remembered High’s attic being referred to as “the dungeon” and only certain people were allowed in, according to court documents. The witness also told police High took photos of the juveniles and himself during holidays or birthdays.
During the investigation, police learned of a recent incident involving an 11-year-old that reportedly occurred from December 2019 through January 2020. High allegedly showed the juvenile pornographic videos and asked inappropriate questions.
A search warrant was later executed at High’s apartment where multiple items including VHS tapes, DVDs, photos, film, cameras and a cell phone were taken. According to police, none of the seized items contained child pornography but showed supporting evidence described by the victims including home videos of camping trips and the movie “Heavy Metal” on VHS.
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High is charged with five felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse of a child less than 16 years of age, three felony counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors, and dissemination of explicit sexual materials to a minor.
He’s incarcerated at the Cambria County Prison where he’s being held on an additional $50,000 straight cash bail, according to police.