Crime

SLO man pleads not guilty to child molestation charges

Matthew Roland Betts, 44, of San Luis Obispo, pleaded not guilty Monday to three charges of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old.
Matthew Roland Betts, 44, of San Luis Obispo, pleaded not guilty Monday to three charges of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old. Courtesy of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office

A San Luis Obispo man arrested last week on suspicion of committing lewd acts on a child pleaded not guilty Monday to three felony charges filed by the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office.

Matthew Roland Betts, 44, was arrested June 30 after a now-13-year-old girl alleged that Betts, who was a family friend, committed crimes against her when she was 10 years old, according to a San Luis Obispo Police Department news release.

Last week, prosecutors filed three felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 years old, with the last count carrying two additional criminal enhancements for unspecified circumstances. Betts’ attorney, Jeffrey Radding, declined to comment Tuesday.

The alleged acts occurred sometime in 2010, according to the complaint filed by the DA’s Office. The SLOPD statement said Betts had also been arrested on suspicion of a similar crime in March after he was observed at a friend’s house allegedly committing a lewd act against an 8-year-old girl. It was not clear if any of the three charges filed last week are related to the March arrest.

Betts is due back in court for a pretrial hearing Thursday. As of Tuesday afternoon, he remained in custody at the San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bail.

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