40-year-old says he’s not guilty of molesting toddler

A 40-year-old Austin man pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of sexually molesting a toddler.

James Ray Watkins faces a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge in Mower County Court from the alleged crime that happened on Feb. 28 while the mother was not home. Another young girl at the home told investigators she could hear the toddler crying that night through a vent.

The victim was taken to the hospital and evaluated for sexual assault. Watkins denied sexually assaulting the child but told an investigator he spanked her.

Watkins has a pretrial set for June 7.

 

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