By SCOTT PESZNECKER
The chief of the San Andreas Fire Protection District pleaded not guilty to sexual assault charges in Calaveras County Superior Court.
Erie Donald Young Sr. is charged with raping and molesting a woman more than 15 years ago.
The charges surfaced on Aug. 29, 2002, when a San Joaquin County woman, now 32, found a bomb in her mailbox. During the ensuing investigation, she told authorities Young had molested her from when she was between the ages of 7 and 18, and raped her after she turned 13.
The Calaveras County District Attorney's Office has charged Young with only two counts, because most of the incidents are alleged to have happened in San Joaquin County and are not subject to prosecution because the statute of limitations has expired.
Young's attorney, Brian Chavez-Ochoa of Valley Springs, has said the charges are "lies."
Young entered his plea Tuesday, and visiting Alpine County Judge David DeVore set the preliminary hearing for 9 a.m. March 24.
Chavez-Ochoa said he will move to dismiss the case at the preliminary hearing, because, he contends, the statute of limitations has expired and there's not enough evidence to extend it.
Judges tend to dismiss sexual assault cases in which the statute of limitations has expired and the defendant has not since been the subject of a separate sexual assault incident, Chavez-Ochoa said.
"I have yet to see anything in the discovery that says this would go to trial," Chavez-Ochoa said. "Here in this case, I just don't think it's there."
Young had delayed entering a plea since his September arraignment hearing while Chavez-Ochoa and Deputy District Attorney Daniel McConnell debated a technicality of the case.
Chavez-Ochoa asked that prosecutors amend their complaint to say the crimes happened between Jan. 2, 1988, and June of that year.