A Columbus man accused of molesting an 8-year-old girl over the last three months pleaded not guilty to five counts of child molestation today during a Recorder's Court hearing.
John Paul Jones, 36, was ordered held at the Muscogee County Jail on bonds totaling $50,000 and not to go near the victim or her family if he’s released. Judge Mary Buckner also bound the charges over to Muscogee Superior Court.
Jones was arrested outside of the residence near Snelling Drive at 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
The mother told the court that the child returned home from a visit with grandparents, saw Jones on a couch inside and refused to enter while the man was there. “I don’t like him,” the girl told her mother.
In a conversation with the victim, the mother said the girl was dressed when she was inappropriately touched. The touching occurred at least five times or more with the latest incident a month ago.
Officer James Denson said most incidents occurred during the school year.
On most occasions, the girl and suspect would be watching television when the improper touching occurred. The man also would press part of his body against her, the mother testified.
When the mother confronted Jones about the incidents, she said he first said no then admitted to touching the girl. The mother said she stopped talking to her daughter when the girl said the man put his tongue in her mouth.
The mother, who works 12-hour days, said she was never home during any of the incidents.
“I know I wasn’t there,” she said.
Before Jones was arrested, officer Julius Carver said the man admitted to doing something bad.
“He said he would touch her outside her clothes,” Carver said. “He said he kissed her.”
Denson told the court that the suspect also would grind against the girl.
Jones, who was represented by public defender Charles Lykins, has lived at the home with the mother and child for about a year, Denson said.
Jones remained silent during the hearing and didn’t testify.
Staff writer Ben Wright contributed to this report.