Fired Mesa police officer pleads not guilty to sex assaults - WSMV Channel 4

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Fired Mesa police officer pleads not guilty to sex assaults

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Justin Cherry leaves his arraignment Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, after pleading not guilty. (Source: CBS 5 News) Justin Cherry leaves his arraignment Thursday, Aug. 7, 2014, after pleading not guilty. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Justin Cherry (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office) Justin Cherry (Source: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
MESA, AZ (CBS5) -

CBS 5 News learned Mesa police Officer Justin Cherry has been fired by that department.

Cherry was already on leave for nearly a year. He's being held at the Fourth Avenue Jail without bond on two counts of sexual assault and one count of child molestation.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment Thursday morning and is scheduled to next appear in court at 8:15 a.m. on Sept. 19.

During the criminal investigation, a fellow Mesa officer described Cherry as someone, "who comes to work, does a good job, is tactically sound, and takes the lead because he knows what to do."

But the investigation report obtained by CBS 5 News lays out sexual assault allegations against Cherry by two women and a 14-year-old girl.

The young girl told investigators Cherry stopped her and a male friend back on May 3 of last year while they were riding bikes. The girl's friend had pulled her into the street.

The teens were cuffed and Cherry, the girl said, began to search her by repeatedly sweeping his hand over-the-clothes, across her breast, and at one point, brushed across her private area.

Cherry, however, is accused of being much more bold on May 15, 2013 after answering a call at an apartment complex on Alma School Road. While another officer interviewed a man outside, Cherry is accused of giving the man's girlfriend numerous pat downs inside the apartment, even after she told him she had nothing on her.

The victim says Cherry put his hands inside her pants, searched around her waistband, and then fondled her private parts.

Investigators say in the report that the victim's story closely mirrors the story of another victim who came into contact with Cherry on June 26.

While answering a call, the report alleges Cherry first searched the victim's belongings outside of his squad car in an alley. The victim says he then fondled her breasts both on top of and inside her clothes, that he stuck his hands down her pants, and then allegedly violated her in a very disturbing way.

In an interview with investigators Cherry adamantly denied inappropriately touching the victims in question. In at least one of the cases, he denied even doing a pat-down.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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