FARMINGTON, Utah (AP) -- A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teacher has pleaded innocent to 10 counts of aggravated child sex abuse.
Aaron Marcos Montoya, 33, of Syracuse, appeared before Judge Thomas L. Kay, who set a bail hearing for Tuesday.
Montoya is being held in the Davis County Jail on $500,000 bail. His attorney, Ed Brass, asked Judge Jon M. Memmott on Feb. 12 to reduce his client's bail to $100,000. Memmott declined, but said he would make a recommendation to Kay after receiving more information from Brass.
The former Salt Lake County correctional security officer was arrested in December after Syracuse police received reports that he had fondled and touched at least four girls, ages 5 and 6, in his home or at the church meetinghouse. Others later came forward with allegations.
Three of the girls were part of a six-member Primary class taught by Montoya and his wife. A fourth girl was allegedly touched at Montoya's home while she was there to play with one of his children. That incident occurred on either Dec. 7 or Dec. 14, according to charges.
The charges were elevated to first-degree felonies, which carry mandatory prison terms of five years to life, because Montoya occupied a position of trust with the girls as a religious leader, prosecutors said. Primary is an organization for children ages three to 11 that meets each Sunday.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)