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A Rio Dell man pleaded not guilty today to the sexual abuse of two children, with one of the alleged victims 10 years old or younger when they were molested.
Judge Larry Killoran advised Jorge Alcazar Vasquez, 41, that he has been charged with the felonies of oral copulation or sexual penetration of a child 10 or younger and sexual intercourse or sodomy of a child 10 or younger. The alleged abuse took place between August 2017 and June 2018.
Additionally, Vasquez is accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child from July 2018 to October 2019.
Eureka police arrested Vasquez after an extensive investigation, and he remains in Humboldt County Correctional Facility with bail set at $1,705,000. Today he appeared via video from the jail, speaking through Spanish interpreter Carlos Benemann.
Asked whether he wanted to hire an attorney or have one appointed, Vasquez said “I don’t have money for this.”
Killoran appointed the Conflict Counsel’s Office to represent Vasquez, with Deputy Conflict Counsel R.J. Loehner entering not guilty pleas on his behalf. Loehner warned Vasquez sharply not to speak to anyone about his case.
“Do not discuss the allegations with anybody,” the attorney said. “Phone calls are recorded; letters are copied and will be used against you.”
At Loehner’s request, a bail hearing was scheduled for Tuesday. A probation officer will interview Vasquez and then make a recommendation on whether he is a good candidate for supervised release. His bail amount will also be discussed then.
The judge told Vasquez he is to have no contact whatsoever with the victims.
“I have a protective order that’s going to be served on you by the end of the day,” Killoran said.
In the EPD news release issued after Vasquez’s arrest, just one victim was mentioned. Loehner said today that he understood “a statement was taken yesterday,” and he asked for a copy of the statement.
As of now, the preliminary hearing is scheduled for April 14.