MERCED -- Arraignment for an Atwater softball coach charged with child molestation was delayed by a visiting judge until Monday at the earliest.
Henry Esparza Jr. was arrested April 25 at his home in the 200 block of Pacemaker Drive in Atwater on suspicion of molesting a 14-year-old girl over a period of several years, according to Atwater police.
On Wednesday, visiting Judge Armando Rodriguez postponed Esparza's videoconference arraignment because his attorney, Modesto's Kirk McAllister, had a conflicting schedule and couldn't attend.
Rodriguez is a Fresno Municipal Court judge.
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Esparza is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in Merced County Superior Court.
Atwater police opened their investigation after Esparza's wife notified the Turlock Police Department about the allegations last week. Atwater Police Chief Richard Hawthorne said it's unknown whether there are other possible victims in the case.
"Obviously, we feel strongly that we have enough information to prosecute," Hawthorne said early last week.
Esparza is facing four felony counts, including committing a lewd act with a child younger than 14, oral copulation with a child younger than 14 and sexual penetration with a foreign object.
Dan Barton, recreation supervisor for Atwater, said Esparza worked a year ago as a boys basketball coach for the city's recreation youth basketball program. He stayed in the job for two to three years.
Barton said a routine fingerprinting and background check was done on Esparza before he began coaching with the city.
"He was cleared at that time," Barton said.
Esparza also was known as a coach for a travel fast-pitch softball team and regularly rented playing fields from the city, Barton said.
He remains at the John Latorraca Correctional Center in lieu of $870,000 bail.