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No deal reached in Hettinger County molestation case

Judge Zane Anderson is scheduling a Hettinger County molestation case for trial since a plea agreement has not been reached, he said Tuesday during a hearing at the Stark County Courthouse.

Russell Pearson, 53, is accused of having sexual contact with a 12-year-old boy in October, according to court records and Jim Gion, Hettinger County state's attorney. The incidents allegedly occurred in New England, according to records.

He faces three Class AA felony counts of gross sexual imposition.

Kevin McCabe, Pearson's attorney, said plea offers from Gion were unacceptable.

"Mr. McCabe and I have had a number of discussions and it appears we do not have a resolution," said Gion, who attended the hearing via conference call.

However, Anderson extended the deadline and will consider plea agreements until Feb. 14.

During a December hearing, Hettinger County Sheriff Deputy Josh Monson testified that the alleged victim said Pearson engaged in three different sexual acts with him at Pearson's home.

Pearson is being held at the Southwest Multi-County Correction Center on $50,000 cash or surety bond.

He faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for each count.