A Columbus man who authorities say sexually assaulted a 13-year-old girl multiple times within the last two years made his first court appearance concerning the accusation Friday morning, according to an arrest report.
Represented by Columbus public defender Charles Lykins, 48-year-old Michael Lamar Walton pleaded not guilty to one count of aggravated child molestation.
The defendant was arrested at the Public Safety Building Thursday at 11:50 a.m., according to the arrest report.
After the hearing, Recorders's Court Judge Michael Cielinski ordered Walton held without bond in the Muscogee County Jail. The case was bound over to Superior Court.
Columbus police were called to a residence near Cusseta Road June 3 in reference to a 13-year-old girl who made an outcry to her mother about being molested.
The victim told authorities that Walton was called over to her home to babysit her and three other children on the evening of May 30. When the defendant was babysitting, he went into victim's room, threw the covers off of her and pulled her into the living room, Columbus Detective Brittany Hayes testified.
The girl told officials that she was on the living room couch when Walton pulled her pants down and forced her to have sex with him while the other children were sleeping, Hayes added.
On June 9 at 2:30 p.m., Hayes scheduled a forensic interview with the 13-year-old child at the Children's Tree House. During the interview, the teen told authorities that the sexual abuse began in 2014 and continued until May 30, Hayes testified. The girl said she couldn't recall exactly when the incidents happened, but Walton forced sexual intercourse on her on approximately seven separate occasions with the last two years, according to the officer's testimony.
When describing the May 30 incident, the victim said "it was very painful and had actually left bruising and caused harm," Hayes told the judge.
During an interview with police, Walton allegedly told officials that he has been in the victim's life "since she was very small." Hayes said the defendant admitted that he was in the house near Cusseta Road to supervise the children, but he denied touching the girl inappropriately.
"Mr. Walton stated during that interview that he has been accused of child molestation in the past by a family member," Hayes said. "It's unclear if police investigated that. At this time, I'm still trying to follow up a lead on that."
When Lykins questioned Hayes about whether or not the child reported any "earlier incidents" to her mother, the detective said the 13-year-old girl used to be too afraid to speak about the abuse.
"She was too scared to tell her mom, because she didn't know if she would be in trouble or not," Hayes told the public defender.