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Not Guilty Plea In Sexual Assault, Animal Cruelty Case

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File photo of a gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

File photo of a gavel (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. (AP) _ A New Britain man has pleaded not guilty to sexual assault and animal cruelty charges involving two city girls and their dog.

Forty-six-year-old Francisco Castellano was held on $100,000 bail Thursday after his arraignment in New Britain Superior Court. He’s due back in court July 5. He faces multiple charges of first-degree sexual assault and risk of injury to a minor, and single counts of cruelty to persons and cruelty to animals.

Police allege Castellano terrorized a 14-year-old girl and her sister by repeatedly sexually assaulting them, threatening to kill them if they told anyone and kicking their small dog. Police say their investigation also turned up two other girls from out of state who claim Castellano sexually assaulted them.

Castellano’s public defender didn’t immediately return a message Friday.

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

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