MODESTO -- A Modesto police sergeant appeared in court Wednesday afternoon for the first time since he was arrested Monday night on suspicion of having sex with an underage female family member.
Robert Hodges, 40, has been charged with seven felony counts of committing sexual acts with the teenage girl, but police say the crimes aren't alleged to have taken place while on duty. The defendant is a 15-year veteran of the department, most recently assigned to patrol.
Hodges appeared in court for his arraignment with defense attorney Kirk McAllister. The defendant pleaded not guilty.
The police sergeant is accused of committing lewd acts with a child 14 or 15 years old, according to a criminal complaint filed Wednesday in Stanislaus County Superior Court.
The criminal complaint alleges that Hodges committed two counts each of sexual penetration with a victim younger than 16, unlawful sexual intercourse with a victim younger than 16 and oral copulation with a person younger than 16.
The charges involve one alleged victim, listed as Jane Doe in the complaint, who was 15 when the sexual abuse is alleged to have started. The allegations involve July 2009 to May 2010.
Judge Valli Israels scheduled Hodges to return to court Friday because McAllister requested a bail review hearing. The judge, however, reduced Hodges' bail from $200,000 to $115,000, which is the normal amount for these types of charges with no criminal history.
The defendant, who appeared in court wearing shackles and an orange and white striped inmate jump suit, remained in custody at the Stanislaus County Jail on Wednesday evening.
Monday, Modesto police were notified of "several prior sexual molestation incidents committed by an employee of the Police Department," according to Lt. Rick Armendariz. He said an investigation ensued, and detectives gathered corroborating evidence before obtaining an arrest warrant for Hodges.
Hodges was placed on paid administrative leave until the conclusion of an internal department investigation. The district attorney's office is handling the criminal investigation.
Bee staff writer Rosalio Ahumada can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2394.