SPOKANE-- A level 3 sex offender pleaded not guilty Thursday after being accused of molesting a young girl at Spokane’s NorthTown Mall.
Authorities said Richard Michael Payne, 55, approached a 5-year-old girl on June 21, in the play area of the mall. He approached her and her 11-year-old sister and fondled the five-year-old’s backside. A few minutes later, the eleven year old witnessed him exposing his genitals to the five-year-old and begin rubbing her backside and upper thighs. The girls ran away to tell their mom.
The victim’s older brother located the suspect inside a mall bathroom, but the suspect fled before he could contact him. Mall security and SPD were notified of the incident and immediately began investigating.
Detectives seized security video from the mall and confirmed the girl’s allegations. Authorities recognized Payne from the video and arrested him.
Court documents say Payne admitted to touching the 5-year-old for his own sexual gratification.
Payne pleaded not guilty to two counts of child molestation, and one count of incident exposure.
Payne has a lengthy criminal record which includes previous convictions of attempted child molestation. He also spent four years in prison for the charges.
Prosecutors say Payne has three prior felony convictions and if convicted of the latest charge he'll never be released from jail.
He's currently out on $250,000 bail, but is under close supervision. Payne is required to wear an electronic home monitoring and GPS device.