A Blythe man accused of sexually assaulting a child re-entered a not guilty plea during his post-preliminary hearing Wednesday.

Kenneth Ray Carlton, 57, was arrested in October on suspicion of the alleged sexual assault, according to Sgt. Mike McTigue of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said Carlton has been charged with two felony counts each of engaging in oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child under 10 and committing lewd acts with a child under 14 with force as well as one felony count each of being a convicted felon owning a firearm and possessing ammunition when prohibited.

On Jan. 11, Carlton waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was ordered to stand trial on the charges by a Riverside County Superior Court judge.

He appeared at the Larson Justice Center on Wednesday for a post-preliminary hearing, where he reentered a not guilty plea on the charges and was scheduled for a trial readiness conference on Feb. 25.

Carlton was being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $1 million bail.

On Oct. 14, 2021, deputies received a report of a sexual assault on a child in the 17000 block of Palowalla Road, according to McTigue. They spoke with witnesses at the residence and identified the suspect as Carlton, McTigue said.

Carlton’s vehicle was later located in the 14000 block of Neighbors Boulevard, and deputies followed it to a nearby gas station and detained Carlton without incident, authorities said.

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