Molest Suspect Pleads Not Guilty

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The 28-year-old Mesa del Caballo man accused of molesting five teen-age girls pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Gila County Superior Court Wednesday morning.

The man remained in custody Wednesday in the Gila County jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond.

County investigators began looking into the allegations of sexual abuse when the father of one of the victims reported the girl's encounter with the suspect to the Gila County Sheriff's Department.

Since then, investigators have discovered four more alleged victims, ranging in age from 13 to 17 years old.

According to court documents, the alleged molestations took place during the summers of 1995 and 1998, and in January of this year.

Despite a videotaped confession that sheriff's investigators say they have from the suspect, he maintained his innocence of four counts of child molestation and one count of sexual abuse.

That videotape or its transcript will not be made available by officials until the investigation has been completed.

A status hearing has been scheduled for March 24, and a pretrial conference will be held April 1 before Judge Edd Dawson at the superior court in Payson.

Editors note: The Roundup maintains its policy not to divulge the name of a suspect involved in a sex crime unless the person is convicted of that crime.

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