Ex-Willits man pleads not guilty to molest charges
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:34 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 7, 2013 at 11:43 a.m.
A former Willits resident who fled California when he learned authorities were investigating allegations of child molestation has been brought back from Michigan for prosecution, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office said.
Conrad Arthur Aten, 44, is charged with the continuous sexual abuse of a child under age 14 over a period of several years, as well as related felony charges, according to court records.
Aten has pleaded not guilty.
Investigators are remaining tight-lipped about the details of the case, including the victim's gender, age and relationship to the defendant.
Aten was arrested after a four-month investigation into allegations that were raised in September and later corroborated, though by then he had left the state.
Authorities tracked him down to Harrison, Mich., where he has family, sheriff's Lt. Greg Van Patten said.
A warrant for his arrest was issued Dec. 6, and Aten was arrested six days later with the help of Clare County, Mich., authorities. He was held in the Clare County Jail until his extradition late last month.
Aten pleaded not guilty during his first court appearance Tuesday and continues to be held in the Mendocino County Jail, with bail of $300,000, reduced from the original $450,000, according to court records.
A preliminary examination to determine if prosecutors have enough evidence to try Aten on the charges is scheduled for Feb. 20, a spokesman for the district attorney said.@pressdemocrat.com.