Detective says he is not guilty of sex crime
The Colusa County sheriff's detective accused of sexual misconduct with a minor pleaded not guilty on Tuesday in Superior Court.
Jeff P. Fortis is charged with a felony count of sexual penetration of a minor and a misdemeanor count of child molestation, court documents state.
"We would like to enter a plea of not guilty to both counts," attorney Thomas A. Johnson said.
A preliminary hearing was set for the morning of July 18.
After the hearing, Johnson said the charges against Fortis are false.
"And we anticipate a trial and we anticipate his vindication," Johnson said.
Johnson also noted his surprise that no one from the District Attorney's office was present for the arraignment, which was held before Judge Betsy Olivera.
While the case is being prosecuted out of the Colusa County District Attorney's Office, it is Butte County Deputy District Attorney Kelly Maloy who will handle the case.
She has not returned calls seeking comment.
Colusa County District Attorney John Poyner recused himself and his staff due to a potential conflict of interest.
The reported victim in the case is a Colusa girl. Her name has not been released due to the nature of the allegations.
Fortis was in court with his attorney, but did not speak.
He was hired by the Sheriff's Department on Sept. 7, 2006, according to the county Personnel Department.
He has been removed from duties since last summer, but the precise time of his leave, and whether he has been paid during the absence, was not available.
The county Personnel Office has referred all questions to the County Counsel's Office. That department has referred the matter to personnel.