Portage man pleads not guilty in molest case

2013-06-20T20:00:00Z 2013-06-21T21:44:24Z Portage man pleads not guilty in molest caseBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | Pleas of not guilty were entered Friday on behalf of a 36-year-old Portage man accused of molesting a 3-year-old boy.

Eric Knowles, of 6175 Abercorn, made an initial court appearance on a Class A felony count of child molesting, which carries a potential penalty of 20 to 50 years behind bars.

Porter Superior Court Judge Bill Alexa set a $75,000 cash bond in the case and scheduled a status hearing for Aug. 2 to determine if Knowles has an attorney.

A trial was set for Nov. 18, with other preliminary hearings Sept. 13 and Oct. 11.

Knowles is accused of molesting the boy between Jan. 1, 2012, and May 24, 2013, according to charging information.

The boy revealed the abuse in April 2012 by making sexually suggestive comments while being bathed by his mother, police said. The mother reported the boy had been wetting himself, was having stomach problems and had been pulling his pants down around the house.

When police tried to interview Knowles at the time, they said his attorney refused to cooperate. The boy said he had been abused, but refused to give police details, according to court documents.

Police said they were contacted again in May 2013 by the boy's mother and was told he had shared details of the abuse with a therapist. The boy, now a year older, reportedly told investigators he had been molested by Knowles.

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