A West Yellowstone man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to sexually assaulting two girls on different occasions.

Kenneth Allen Perez, 52, faces two felony charges of sexual assault. He appeared in Gallatin County District Court before Judge John Brown.

Perez has been held on $75,000 bail at the Gallatin County jail since Sept. 11.

In July, the West Yellowstone Police Department received a report that Perez had sexually assaulted a girl, according to charging documents. A man told officers he was outside of an apartment building when Perez and a girl walked inside. Shortly after, the man told police that the girl ran out and said that Perez sexually assaulted her.

Later that day, a West Yellowstone officer went to Perez’s home. Police said in charging documents that when asked if he knew the girl, Perez became defensive and asked, “Why? Did she say I touched her?”

Later that month, the girl answered questions from Child Protective Services while a Gallatin County sheriff’s detective watched the interview via video from a separate room. Police said the girl told an interviewer that Perez inappropriately touched her.

Police said they learned that another woman suspected that Perez had sexually assaulted her daughter. In August, the girl told Child Protective Services that Perez had sexually assaulted her, according to charging documents.

In September, two Gallatin County sheriff’s detectives spoke with Perez at the West Yellowstone sheriff’s station. When asked if he knew why they were investigating him, Perez said, “They said I inappropriately touched their daughter.”

Perez told police that the incident with the first girl was a “mistake” and that he “poked” her stomach as he walked by.

When asked about the other girl, Perez told the detectives that he would roughhouse with her brother. Perez said he would pick up the girl and move her out of the way, but denied inappropriately touching her.

Asked if he thought the girl could have misconstrued his playing as inappropriate, Perez told the officers that it could have happened when they were “roughhousing around.” Perez said he “may have” picked up the girl “that way,” and simulated picking her up with one hand on her torso and the other in her groin area, according to charging documents.

The detectives then arrested Perez and took him to the Gallatin County jail.

Freddy Monares can be reached at fmonares@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2630. Follow him on Twitter @TGIFreddy.

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