A man facing numerous sexual abuse charges pleaded not guilty and was bound over for trial on Thursday.
Lee Earl Poorte, 62, appeared in 1st District Court for a preliminary hearing to determine probable cause for the charges in the case. Poorte faces 10 counts of first-degree aggravated sexual abuse of a child and 10 counts of second-degree forcible sexual abuse.
During the hearing, Cache County prosecutor Dane Murray presented to the court testimony from a Cache County Sheriff’s Office investigator and a Children’s Justice Center video interview with one of the alleged victims in the case.
Judge Brian Cannell bound Poorte over for trial on all 20 counts and set a pretrial conference for Jan. 11.
Documents filed with the court allege Poorte inappropriately touched the breasts of both female victims over and under their clothing multiple times. Deputies wrote one victim said she had been touched an estimated 200 times by Poorte.
Poorte apologized to both alleged victims via text message for the incidents and asking for forgiveness, according to deputies. The severity of the charges was enhanced due to “a position of trust” Poorte had with the victims.
The investigator told the court the alleged victims were 13 and 18 years of age when the investigation began; the youngest was 11 years of age when the inappropriate contact started. According to testimony from the investigator, Poorte was interviewed about the incidents and admitted to touching the victims’ breasts “30 to 40 times,” but denied other forms of contact.
Poorte said, according to investigator testimony, he was having relationship problems and was “looking for someone to love or to love him.”
Poorte declined to testify during the preliminary hearing as advised by defense counsel.
Poorte was arrested and booked into the Cache County Jail on Sept. 24 and was released on $20,000 bail.