Not guilty pleas entered in case

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SANDPOINT — A Sandpoint man accused of sexually abusing a girl over a 10-year period pleaded not guilty on Monday.

Dustin O. Walden is scheduled to be tried in February 2018 on charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor, sexual abuse of a child under the age of 16 and rape. He is being held at the Bonner County Jail in lieu of $500,000 bail, court records indicate.

Walden, 37, engaged in sexual contact with a girl from 2003 to 2013, when she was between the ages of 3-13, a criminal complaint alleges. The alleged victim told Sandpoint Police that Walden had groomed her for years by exposing her to pornography and an escalating degrees of sexual abuse, according to a probable cause affidavit that has since been stricken from public view.

Walden’s defense counsel, Sandpoint attorney Daniel Rodriguez, is calling for the case to be resolved prior to testimony being heard in the case in order to prevent harm to the alleged victim and family members, court records indicate.

Walden waived his right to a preliminary hearing last month.

Walden was prosecuted for lewd conduct in Boundary County in 1998, but the charge was reduced to misdemeanor battery as the case neared trial, according to the Idaho Supreme Court Data Repository.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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