Source AP ©

Lawyer undergoes trial for sexual assaults

A lawyer was found naked with a 14-year-old girl in a city courthouse. He was charged with sexual assault of the teen and five other girls as young as 5.

Larry Charles, 50, entered the pleas on Monday, the day his trial was scheduled to begin.

Authorities have said a sheriff's deputy making his rounds in the courthouse on Jan. 15, a holiday, looked into a lawyers' lounge and discovered Charles and the girl.

Charles, who often worked in the courthouse as a criminal defense attorney, was charged with rape and related offenses.

After his arrest, five other girls came forward and testified that Charles assaulted them. The girls were ages 5 to 10 at the time of the alleged attacks and are now ages 11 to 17. They testified the assaults occurred in motels, Charles' law offices, safe deposit box rooms at banks, in the lawyers' lounge and in a court anteroom. Some testified they were assaulted multiple times from 2000 to the time of Charles' arrest in January 2007.

Charles was charged in those cases with multiple counts of rape, sexual assault, corruption of a minor and other charges. He pleaded no contest to all the counts.

Charles' bail was revoked and he was sent to prison, pending his sentencing on Dec. 20. Prosecutors said they plan to recommend a sentence of 25 to 50 years in prison.

Three of the six girls are sisters, one girl was a cousin of theirs, and the two other girls are sisters, Assistant District Attorney James Carpenter said.

"The defendant befriended their families and started gradually conditioning them to be molested" and eventually escalating to rape, Carpenter said.

An attempt to reach Charles' lawyer, Angelo L. Cameron, for comment was not successful.

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