CHARLESTON -- A man pleaded not guilty Monday to child sex assault charges that could lead to a life prison sentence because of the number of alleged victims involved.
Casey Rajkumar entered the plea to charges of predatory criminal sexual assault of a child that accuse him of engaging in sex acts with two children at their Mattoon home earlier this year.
Rajkumar, 26, for whom court records list a Decatur address, is also suspected of molesting a third child, according to Mattoon police and case records.
In court Monday, he entered the not guilty plea after waiving right to a preliminary hearing on the charges.
During a preliminary hearing, a judge considers some prosecution evidence, usually police testimony about the investigation, to decide if there's sufficient reason for the case to continue.
The judge's ruling isn't needed for the case to go forward if the defendant waives the hearing.
Coles County Assistant Public Defender Jesse Danley waived the hearing and entered the plea on Rajkumar's behalf. Danley also said Rajkumar wanted a jury trial on the charges.
Circuit Judge Brien O'Brien didn't set a trial date and instead scheduled a hearing for Nov. 13 to check the case's status. Assistant State's Attorney Tom Bucher is prosecuting.
Danley said he didn't want to address Rajkumar's bond, presently set at a level that would require $25,000 to be posted for release. Bond conditions include no contact with anyone younger than 18 if he is released.
Case records indicate that one of the children, currently 5 years old, told police that Rajkumar engaged in sex acts several times during the year.
Another child, now 8 years old, described a sex act by Rajkumar that allegedly took place on Sept. 29, the records say.
They also say a third child told police about a sex act by Rajkumar but no charges in connection with that alleged victim have been filed. Mattoon police also mentioned a third alleged victim when they announced Rajkumar's arrest.
A conviction for predatory criminal sexual assault of a child requires a prison sentence of six to 60 years if there's a single victim. However, a person convicted of the offense against more than one victim faces the requirement of a life sentence.