VALPARAISO — A 41-year-old Valparaiso man accused of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl for a year has been charged with reaching out to the victim in violation of a court order.
Arliss Burress appeared in court Thursday on the new misdemeanor charges of invasion of privacy and harassment.
Burress is accused of sending a cyber wave, a type of online greeting, via Facebook to the purported victim from his 2018 child molestation case, according to the new charges. The alleged attempt at contact reportedly occurred Dec. 1.
Burress was prohibited by court order from having any contact with the victim as part of the terms of his pretrial release from jail, according to court records.
His defense attorney, Ken Elwood, argued the attempted contact was the result of an error.
Burress reactivated his Facebook account Dec. 1, and when the victim's contact information popped up, he hit the wave button rather than delete as he intended. The options are next to one another, Elwood said.
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Porter County Deputy Prosecutor Mary Ryan countered Elwood's claims, saying the information she was given is that his reaching out to the victim was no accident.
Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary Harper denied Elwood's request to release Burress from jail and scheduled a Feb. 4 hearing to hear arguments on the new allegations.
A Feb. 24 trial is scheduled on allegations that Burress subjected the girl to repeated incidents of sexual intercourse for a year beginning when she was 13, according to charging documents. The period in question was May 25, 2013, through June 2, 2014.
Burress acknowledged to police that he had been accused of touching the girl, but initially denied any type of sexual experiences with her, according to charging documents.
When a detective suggested the sexual contact might have occurred after the girl reached the age of consent, Burress reportedly said "that he would only commit to the admission of a sexual relationship if he knew it was legal," police allege.
The defendant then admitted to having two sexual encounters with the girl and then "maybe more" after she turned 16, police said.
Police believe the girl was 13 during the period of the alleged abuse.