Charges

A Birch Tree resident has been charged after allegedly touching a 7-year-old girl inappropriately and exposing himself to her at a local motel room while her parents were at work.

Austin Cody Green, 23, is charged with enticement of a child, or attempt, by a person 21 or older of a child younger than 15, and second-degree child molestation of a child younger than 12, according to court documents.

Both charges are felonies. Court records show the charges were filed July 14 and Green made a court appearance Monday, waiving a formal arraignment and entering a plea of not guilty.

A report submitted to prosecutors by West Plains Police Officer Trent Kinder shows an investigation into the allegations began May 27, when the officer assisted a Missouri Children’s Division investigator with a child abuse hotline call that included documentation that Green had been sleeping in a room at the Ridge Crest Motel with the child.

During a forensic interview given at the Child Advocacy Center in West Plains, the child reportedly disclosed that Green slept on the floor next to her bed, and had tried to get her to let him sleep in the bed with her, tried to get her to kiss him and asked her to have sex with him.

The child also allegedly stated that during a time when both her parents were at work and Green was babysitting her, Green had put his hands on her chest under her clothing and asked for other sexual contact.

During a voluntary interview with law enforcement on July 6, Green reportedly admitted staying at the motel with the child’s father during the previous two months, but said he only stayed there with the other man and denied knowing he had a wife and child, then ended the interview with a request to speak to an attorney.

In a later interview with a Missouri Children’s Division investigator, Green allegedly stated he met the child’s father while working at a sawmill and said the other man had told him he had a wife and kids, but said he had never met them.

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