Photo from Pixabay.
Photo from Pixabay.

Felony charges were filed Thursday against a convicted sex offender accused of molesting a 7-year-old Temecula girl.

William Arthur Hammond, 70, of Menifee was arrested Wednesday following a Riverside County sheriff’s investigation that began in mid- February.

Hammond, who is being held in lieu of $1 million bail at the Byrd Detention Center in Murrieta, is slated to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon at the Southwest Justice Center on three counts of lewd acts on a minor.

Sheriff’s officials said deputies received a report on Feb. 17 that the 7-year-old, whose identity was not disclosed, had been in contact with the defendant at a residence in the 44000 block of Cabo Street, where he allegedly fondled and performed other unspecified sexual acts on her.

It was unclear whether the alleged offenses had occurred on that day, or sometime before.

Detectives questioned the victim and Hammond, as well as gathered other information, before obtaining a search warrant that was served at the registered sex offender’s home in the 26000 block of Mehaffey Street, where he was taken into custody without a struggle.

According to investigators, Hammond was a private piano teacher until 2015, and there are concerns about interactions he may have had with students. Anyone with information was asked to call the sheriff’s Temecula station at (951) 696-3000.

According to court records, the defendant has a prior conviction for forcible rape, as well as failing to register as a convicted sex offender.

Under California Penal Code section 290, sex registrants are required to keep a current address on file with law enforcement and notify authorities whenever they relocate. They’re also generally prohibited from loitering where children gather and working in jobs in which they have routine contact with minors.

–City News Service

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