A 40-year-old Livingston man, accused of fathering two children with a teenage relative, has been ordered to stand trial in Merced County.
Arturo Morales, also known as Rolando Sanchez, has pleaded not guilty to three counts of incest and one count of lewd and lascivious acts with a teenager, all felonies, according to Merced Superior Court records.
Morales was bound over for trial Thursday by Judge Ronald W. Hansen after a preliminary hearing, according to Matthew Serratto, the deputy district attorney prosecuting the case.
Morales was ordered to return to court May 8 for arraignment.
Morales’ attorney, Deputy Public Defender Christopher Loethen said DNA test results are pending in the case.
Loethen noted the alleged victim in the case testified that she is not angry with Morales.
“She said repeatedly that she bears him no ill will,” Loethen said.
Serratto acknowledged the woman said she cared for her relative and did not want to see him get in trouble. However, Serratto said, she also testified that he is the father of her two children.
Livingston police first looked into possible sexual misconduct involving Morales and a 16-year-old relative in 2012, but a lack of physical evidence and lack of cooperation from the alleged victim stalled the investigation.
Police said they obtained additional evidence earlier this year but have declined to elaborate to protect their investigation. Morales was arrested April 4.
Investigators believe Morales began having sexual intercourse with the alleged victim when she was 15 years old, police said previously.
Staff writer Rob Parsons can be reached at (209) 385-2482 or firstname.lastname@example.org.