Puppet sex assault suspect to be tried in July | SummitDaily.com

Puppet sex assault suspect to be tried in July

SALIDA – A puppeteer-artist who traveled the West entertaining youngsters will be tried in July on charges of sexually assaulting and exploiting a 4-year-old girl, the Pueblo Chieftain reported Saturday.The newspaper said John P. Wagner is charged with sexual exploitation of a child, sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust and unlawful sexual contact, all felonies. He faces nearly 60 other counts, each of which relates to hundreds of sexually explicit photos he allegedly took of the victim.The trial for the 61-year-old puppeteer is scheduled to begin July 17 and expected to last two weeks. Wagner is in jail in lieu of $1 million bail.A hearing on defense pretrial motions will begin April 24 and on prosecution motions on May 15.Wagner was arrested after a report from the alleged victim’s mother. An arrest affidavit said she left her daughter at Wagner’s home twice to allow him to photograph and sketch the girl for a portrait. The girl reported inappropriate touching and being photographed in the nude after the second visit.In addition he watched her remove her clothing, photographed her naked and while she bathed.The affidavit said that on May 27, police searched Wagner’s residence and confiscated a computer and other equipment as well as photographs and slides containing pictures of nude children. The affidavit said the pictures were “overly provocative and sexual in nature.”

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