A Santa Rosa surgeon being prosecuted for suspicion of attempted child molestation after authorities say he arranged a rendezvous with a 13-year-old Novato girl has pleaded not guilty in the case, Marin County court personnel said.

Raymond Severt, 53, had been scheduled to enter a plea next week but made a court appearance in the case Tuesday instead. He scheduled to appear in Marin County Superior Court next on April 24.

Severt, a well-known orthopedic surgeon and hand specialist, met his alleged victim through an online dating site for people 18 and older.

Police say he sent the girl sexually explicit texts and they arranged to meet.

Severt's lawyer said it wasn't until he already was driving to their appointed meeting Feb. 11 that she revealed her age. At that point, he wasn't sure of the actual truth, attorney Steve Turer said.

The girl's mother found the texts, and alerted Novato police, who met and arrested Severt that evening.

He later was charged with four felony counts for suspicion of attempted lewd acts with a child under 14, communicating with a minor for the purpose of lewd behavior, arranging a meeting with a minor for purposes of lewd behavior, and distribution of lewd material to a minor.

He faces a maximum seven years and four months in prison if convicted on the charges, prosecutors said.