Nevada County child sex case advances toward trial | TheUnion.com

Nevada County child sex case advances toward trial

A Nevada County judge has ruled that enough evidence exists in a child molestation case to advance the matter toward trial, authorities said.

Matthew Thomas Bell, 34, of Penn Valley, faces two counts of lewd and lascivious acts and one count of rape by force or fear. He faces special allegations of having substantial sexual contact and multiple victims, said Jesse Wilson, deputy district attorney.

Superior Court Judge Candace Heidelberger after a Tuesday preliminary hearing found enough evidence to advance all charges and allegations to the next stage, Wilson added.

Bell is next scheduled to appear in court July 30.

"We'll be ready to go to trial whenever, but there's been no indication on when that will be from either side," Wilson said.

Bell would face 15 to 45 years, or life, in prison if convicted, Wilson said.

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Defense attorney Kenneth Tribby, who represents Bell, couldn't be reached for comment.

Authorities have accused Bell of molesting a girl under 14 years old between November 2012 and November 2014. He's accused of raping a different girl, who was between 14 and 17 years old, between May 2014 and May 2016.

Bell once associated with a victim's family. A victim accused Bell after that association ended, Wilson said.

Authorities arrested Bell in May. He remained Wednesday in the Nevada County Jail under $250,000 bond.

To contact Staff Writer Alan Riquelmy, email ariquelmy@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.

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