Ponca City dentist arrested on sexual battery charges

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PONCA CITY, Okla. - A Ponca City dentist was arrested Monday morning at his dental office and charged with three counts of sexual battery.

Jim Highfill, 68, has had his Ponca City practice since 1976, according to his bio on his website.

According to a court affidavit, one of Highfill’s employees accused him of the sexual battery, which took place over her approximately eight years of working for him.

She said, on several occasions, he would “ask/tell her to stay late at the office to 'babysit' him while he used the nitrous oxide gas.”

Several times, she did this with him and said, one time, “she had noticed that Highfill had adjusted the regulators on the nitrous oxide gas tanks.”

The affidavit states “she didn’t think much about it until she woke up several hours later with her under shirt pushed up over her bra and feeling like she had been touched.”

And, another time, she said “she woke up hours later with her shirt up and pants down with Highfill straddling her.”

One patient of Highfill’s said he didn’t think the dentist was capable of doing something like that and he was a long-standing and respected member of the community.

“Jim’s been my dentist for a long time,” said John Gilberg.  “To find out the charges and everything like that, that’s just, you know somebody’s looking for something to ruin the man. I mean it’s, I mean, it is a shock.”

Amanda McReynolds Doran is the executive director of the Domestic Violence Program of North Central Oklahoma.

While it saddens her to hear of cases of sexual abuse, she said good can come from high profile cases because other victims find the courage to come forward.

“Victims who have not come forward yet of any sex crime from any perpetrator will see the report of a sex crime as a source of strength and know that you’re not alone out there, and we can be there to provide some support for you,” Doran said.

Victims of domestic violence or sexual assault in that part of the state can get confidential services from that organization by calling 580-762-2873.

Highfill bonded out of jail Monday afternoon after his bond was reduced from $1 million to $100,000.

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