The husband of a day-care operator on the Key Peninsula pleaded not guilty Thursday to four counts of first-degree child molestation.
Jimmy Pierce, 51, was charged earlier this month.
Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Meagan Foley ordered him released on his own recognizance and banned him from having contact with any children but his own.
When sheriff’s detectives interviewed Pierce he denied molesting the children. Investigators noted several inconsistencies in his account, including whether he’d been alone with the girls.
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The mother of a 10-year-old girl first came forward after her daughter said Pierce touched her inappropriately and gave her candy. An 8-year-old girl told a similar story.
The abuse is alleged to have happened from June 2013 to August 2014.
Defense attorney Timothy Healy filed seven letters on Pierce’s behalf this week from friends attesting to his character.
“Jimmy is a hardworking, devoted and loving, honest man,” his ex-wife, Patricia Lewis, wrote. “He would give his left and right arm for anyone.”